26 EU member states call for immediate humanitarian pause in Gaza

Twenty-six of the European Union's 27 member states support a call for an immediate humanitarian pause leading to a lasting ceasefire in Gaza, the EU's High Representative for Foreign Policy Josep Borrell said on Monday. Hungary has refused to sign the text.

The 26 member states on Monday backed a statement calling for "an immediate humanitarian pause that should lead to a durable ceasefire, the unconditional release of hostages and the delivery of humanitarian aid," Borrell said after a meeting with foreign ministers in Brussels.

Belgian minister Hadja Lahbib said it was an "extremely positive compromise" given the divergent views of member states on the situation in the Middle East. "It is better to move forward with 26 than to stand still with 27," the minister said. "We are sending a clear message to Israel" and "that is what counts", she said.

Hungary, the only member state not to sign the appeal, is also blocking the adoption of European sanctions against radical Israeli settlers who commit acts of violence against Palestinians in the West Bank. But Lahbib says this does not prevent member states such as Belgium from taking individual measures such as travel bans.


High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell © PHOTO Kenzo TRIBOUILLARD / AFP

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