Saturday, May 25, 2024

Qatar says will conduct a “comprehensive evaluation” of its mediation role in Gaza ceasefire negotiations

Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani has expressed concerns over the current state of international mediation efforts led by Doha to help reach an agreement on the release of hostages and a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Al Thani, who is also Qatar’s foreign minister, criticized the misuse of Qatar’s efforts for “narrow political” gains by some involved, undermining the broader goal of peace and humanitarian relief, “which required the State of Qatar to conduct a comprehensive evaluation”.

He emphasized the sensitivity of the ongoing talks and highlighted the challenges faced in bridging gaps between conflicting parties. The diplomat also pointed out the inconsistency between private assurances and public statements by involved parties, describing such actions as counterproductive.

While the Qatari leaders did not point anyone out by name, the comments followed a statement by US Rep. Steny Hoyer on Monday that said if Qatar fails to apply pressure on Hamas to reach an agreement on a deal to release hostages and establish a temporary ceasefire, “the United States must reevaluate its relationship with Qatar”.

On Tuesday Qatar’s Embassy to the US in Washington issued a statement saying it was surprised by Hoyer’s remarks, adding that while the country shares the congressman’s frustrations, it does not control Israel or Hamas.

“Blaming and threatening the mediator is not constructive, especially when the target is a friend,” the embassy statement read.

Qatar has been working to try to mediate a deal throughout the six months of fighting in Gaza. However, there is still no sign of any breakthrough in the negotiations, as Israel and Hamas each refuse to move on conditions the other side declares unacceptable.

As the longwinded talks, mediated by Qatar and Egypt, continue, the Israeli military has continued deadly military operations inside the tiny enclave, which remains blockaded.

Close to 34,000 Palestinians in Gaza have been killed, while the 2.3-million-strong population have been left in dire conditions, amid shortages of food, shelter and medicine.

Meanwhile, the armed Hamas group continues to hold more than 100 captives taken from Israel during its raid across the enclave’s northern border on October 7, which killed more than 1,100.

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