UN Chief Calls On EU Leaders To Support Gaza Ceasefire

UN Chief Calls On EU Leaders To Support Gaza Ceasefire

March 22, 2024, 7:37 a.m.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called on European Union leaders to cooperate to bring about a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, and to improve the humanitarian situation there.

The UN chief made the remark to reporters before joining the first day of an EU summit in Belgium on Thursday.

EU leaders are holding a two-day meeting to discuss the situation in Gaza and other issues.

Guterres said, "We need a ceasefire in Gaza," adding, "As we condemned the terror attacks" by Hamas on October 7, "we also condemned the fact that we are witnessing a number of civilian casualties in Gaza."

Guterres also said, "The basic principle of international humanitarian law is the protection of civilians."

The EU leaders are expected to discuss whether to call on Israel to not launch a ground offensive in the southern Gaza City of Rafah, and whether to call for a humanitarian pause in fighting.

Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte told reporters that a ground operation in Rafah would lead to a humanitarian disaster. He underscored the importance of urging Israel not to carry out such an offensive.

But senior EU officials and others say there are differences among EU members. They say it is uncertain what conclusion the leaders will reach at the end of their talks.

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