EU ministers deplore worsening humanitarian situation in Gaza

European Union Foreign Ministers on Monday deplored the worsening humanitarian situation in Gaza as they arrived at a meeting in Brussels where Russia’s war against Ukraine was also on the agenda.

The EU is calling for immediate pauses and humanitarian corridors to be established in order to face the dire situation of the people in Gaza.

EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell has said.

Heavy fighting near the Gaza Strip’s main hospital on Sunday was escalating fears about the fate of staff and patients as fast-depleting fuel supplies widen the humanitarian crisis among Palestinian civilians.

The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) say Hamas has an underground control centre near the hospital.

“Patients in intensive care have no chance.

“There’s no oxygen, there’s no water, there’s no medicine, so these people are going to die,’’ said Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn.

Borrell said “we ask Israel to show maximum restraint in order to save civilian lives’’.

EU states issued a joint statement on Sunday in which they repeated their condemnation of the use of civilians as human shields by Hamas.

“We can feel in all places how great the despair is in the Middle East,’’ said German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock.

He referred to the suffering of civilians in Gaza and of the families of Israeli hostages held by Hamas.

Cypriot Foreign Minister Constantinos Kombos said he wants to present a proposal to establish a maritime corridor for the provision of humanitarian aid from his country to Gaza.

The island nation of Cyprus is around 250 nautical miles away from the Gaza Strip.

An EU official previously pointed out those ports in Gaza that had been destroyed and that was next to a political agreement with Israel.

It has a technical solution for the clearance of ships carrying humanitarian goods that would have to be found.

The war in Gaza is not the only conflict on Monday’s agenda.

However, Russia’s war against Ukraine and the aftermath of the Azerbaijani military operation against Armenians in the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh have taken a back seat to the Middle East conflict.

“Don’t forget about Ukraine, the fight continues,’’ urged Borrel.

EU states are still due to decide how and to what extent the bloc will support Kiev after the end of the year.

Baerbock announced on Monday a massive increase in bilateral support for Ukraine in the coming year without providing further details.

EU plans to provide Kiev with 50 billion euros (53.45 billion dollars) in economic until the year 2027 have not yet met with the necessary unanimous approval.

An additional proposal for 20 billion euros in multi-annual military aid is unlikely to receive the required backing.

“The day might come that Ukrainians are unable to fight further because we’re unable to provide them with weapons,’’ warned Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis.

“And in that way, we are pushing for (Russian President Vladimir) Putin’s victory,’’ he added.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba was to brief his EU counterparts about the situation in his country by video-link.

Later on Monday, EU ministers would meet their counterparts from the Western Balkans region to discuss cooperation in foreign and security policy. (dpa/NAN)