Jordan hosts international aid meeting on Gaza

King Abdullah II attends talks in Amman

Jordan's King Abdullah II was present for the start of the discussions on Thursday. AP
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Jordan's King Abdullah II on Thursday discussed ways to increase humanitarian assistance to Gaza with international aid officials at a meeting in Amman, official media reported.

The king met UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths, World Food Programme head Cindy McCain and other aid organisation representatives.

During the meeting, they discussed how to “intensify the humanitarian response in Gaza”, the official Jordanian news agency said.

King Abdullah called for the meeting “in the context of Jordan’s efforts to … alleviate the tragic situation” in Gaza, the agency said.

The gathering was part of the Aqaba Process, a counter-terrorism forum founded by the king in 2015, which is mainly focused on finding ways to fight extremism in East Africa.

Jordan hosts US military bases, and considers itself a leading ally of American efforts against extremism.

A source who was briefed on the talks told The National that ambassadors of the US, Britain, France, Germany and other European countries, also attended the meeting, as well as envoys from Arabian Gulf states.

Mr Griffith said last week that the truce in Gaza, which started on November 24, should be “followed by many others” and lead to “a longer-term humanitarian ceasefire – for the benefit of the people of Gaza, Israel and beyond”.

Early on Thursday, Israel and Hamas announced a second extension to the temporary truce, just minutes before it was set to expire.

Hamas said that the pause in fighting in Gaza had been extended to a seventh day.

Israel’s military said the truce will continue “in light of the mediators' efforts to continue the process of releasing hostages, and subject to the terms of the agreement”.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said on Wednesday that Gazans are “in the midst of an epic humanitarian catastrophe before the eyes of the world”.

The pause has allowed more humanitarian aid lorries to enter Gaza, but the UN has cautioned that the flows still fall short of the needs of the enclave's population.

Jordan is one of many countries that have flown aid to Egypt to be transported into the besieged strip.

Jordanian officials have repeatedly called for Israel to lift restrictions on the aid flows.

The meeting in Amman takes place as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is set to meet Israeli leaders in Tel Aviv to discuss the truce with Hamas and the provision of humanitarian aid to Gaza.

It is Mr Blinken's third visit to the Middle East since the start of the war.

Israel declared war on Hamas on October 7 after the militant group launched a surprise attack on southern Israeli towns, killing about 1,200 people and taking 240 hostages.

The subsequent Israeli aerial and ground campaign has killed more than 15,000 people in Gaza, including more than 5,000 children, according to the enclave's Health Ministry.

Updated: November 30, 2023, 5:03 PM