The BRICS group of nations, comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, on Tuesday urged an immediate and sustained humanitarian truce in Gaza. The virtual meeting hosted by South Africa aimed at formulating a collective response to the Israel-Hamas conflict. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa accused Israel of war crimes and “genocide” in Gaza, condemning the “unlawful use of force” and the denial of essential resources to Gazan residents, news agency AFP reported.
“We called for an immediate, durable, and sustained humanitarian truce leading to a cessation of hostilities,” stated the BRICS group in a summary of the meeting, as quoted by AFP. The leaders expressed strong support for regional and international efforts to achieve an immediate cessation of hostilities, ensuring the protection of civilians and the provision of humanitarian aid.
The conflict intensified after Hamas gunmen killed around 1,200 people, predominantly civilians, in cross-border raids on October 7, prompting Israel to launch a bombing campaign and ground offensive. According to Hamas, more than 13,300 people, including thousands of children, have been killed in the conflict.
Denial Of Medicine, Food, Water To Gaza ‘Tantamount To Genocide’: South African President
South African President Ramaphosa condemned Israel’s actions, asserting, “The collective punishment of Palestinian civilians through the unlawful use of force by Israel is a war crime. The deliberate denial of medicine, fuel, food, and water to the residents of Gaza is tantamount to genocide.”
This comes as Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh stated on Tuesday that a truce agreement with Israel was in sight, with negotiations to free hostages at their “closest point” to a deal, according to Qatari mediators, AFP’s report mentioned.
Chinese President Xi Jinping stressed the need for a long-term diplomatic solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, proposing an “international peace conference” to achieve lasting peace in the Middle East.
Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva condemned Hamas’s attacks and hostage-taking as “barbaric acts” but cautioned against the use of “indiscriminate and disproportionate force against civilians”, as per the report.
Russian President Vladimir Putin called for a “long-term and sustainable ceasefire” to prevent other states from being drawn into the conflict.
Israel-Hamas Conflict: India Calls For ‘Serious And Sustainable’ Two-State Solution
Meanwhile, External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar emphasised the importance of addressing the concerns of the Palestinian people through a “serious and sustainable” two-state solution based on peaceful coexistence.
BRICS sees itself as a counterweight to the US and the Western-led global order.
The summit included representatives from Saudi Arabia, Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, and the United Arab Emirates, countries set to join BRICS in January 2024. South Africa, a staunch supporter of the Palestinian cause, recently recalled all its diplomats from Israel and joined four other nations in calling for an International Criminal Court investigation into the conflict. In response, Israel recalled its ambassador to Pretoria for consultations.
The summit coincides with talks among foreign ministers of the Palestinian Authority, Indonesia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan on the ongoing conflict.
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