UK's Rishi Sunak meets King of Jordan to discuss Gaza violence

Downing Street says the leaders discussed diplomatic efforts to prevent 'further escalation in the wider Middle East'

Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, right, shakes hands with Jordan's King Abdullah II inside 10 Downing Street, London. PA
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British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has met King Abdullah II of Jordan amid growing concern about the fate of Palestinians in Gaza as an Israeli invasion looms.

The king has embarked on a European tour to “rally international support to stop the war on Gaza”, his office said, with stops also expected in Italy, Germany and France.

King Abdullah met US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday.

Number 10 said that the two men discussed diplomatic efforts to prevent “further escalation in the wider Middle East”.

“The leaders also agreed on the importance of taking measures to protect civilians in Gaza, including British and Jordanian citizens caught up in the violence, as well as ensuring humanitarian aid reaches those in need,” a Downing Street representative said.

It has been more than a week since Hamas militants launched a deadly assault on Israel.

UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly earlier stressed British backing for Israel while urging Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the country’s military to show restraint and discipline.

Mr Cleverly said the UK will always raise breaches of international law, but declined to say whether Israel has crossed that line already.

“Friends speak honestly with friends and we have a very, very good working relationship with the Israeli government," he told Sky News.

"And whenever I have spoken to them I have reinforced the UK’s position about the preservation of life, the avoidance of civilian casualties.

“I’ve said that restraint, discipline, these are the hallmarks of the [Israeli military] that I want to see."

The UN, senior EU figures and aid agencies have all expressed alarm as many Palestinians struggle to flee before a “co-ordinated” offensive in the Gaza Strip involving air, ground and naval forces.

Hundreds of people gathered at a vigil in central London on Sunday to commemorate Israeli victims of the Hamas incursion into the country.

Many were draped in Israeli flags, and posters saying “bring them home” with names and faces of hostages captured by Hamas were being handed out.

On Saturday, tens of thousands of people took to the streets across the UK in a show of solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza.

Updated: October 15, 2023, 10:15 PM