EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell arrives for the Foreign Affairs Council meeting in Luxembourg, 23 October 2023. EFE/EPA/JULIEN WARNAND

Borrell points to EU consensus on humanitarian ‘pause’ to allow aid into Gaza

Luxembourg, Oct 23 (EFE).- European Union countries reached a “basic consensus” on Monday on the need to call for a “humanitarian pause” in Gaza to allow aid to reach the Strip, according to European diplomatic chief Josep Borrell.

Speaking at a press conference at the end of the EU foreign ministers’ meeting in Luxembourg on Monday, Borrell said that there is a basic consensus that a humanitarian pause would be very necessary to allow aid into Gaza without the risks of continued warfare.

However, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs cautioned that a humanitarian pause is not the same as a ceasefire, and that it will be up to EU leaders to determine the Union’s position at their summit in Brussels on Thursday and Friday.

Borrell acknowledged that a pause is a less ambitious goal than a ceasefire, noting that a pause can be agreed on “more quickly.”

He stressed, however, that the EU could not impose a humanitarian pause; it would have to be decided by the parties to the conflict.

The head of European diplomacy reiterated Israel’s right to defend itself against the Hamas attack of Oct. 7, which killed 1,400 people, but insisted on the need for the Israeli government to respect international humanitarian law, which, he recalled, prohibits cutting off water and electricity to a population.

Noting that this is the fifth war he has seen in Gaza, Borrell cautioned that he has heard too many times about putting an end to Hamas.

He stressed the importance of also taking into account the situation of the Palestinian people in Gaza and echoed recent statements by US President Joe Biden calling for restraint.

Another issue on which the ministers agreed, according to Borrell, was the need to avoid “regional escalation” as a result of the confrontation between Israel and Hamas.

He warned that Russia was trying to take advantage of the situation with disinformation campaigns and insisted that the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict should not be lost. EFE