Foreign minister travels to Oman for talks on Middle East violence
Belgian Foreign minister Hadja Lahbib has travelled to the Omani capital Muscat for a ministerial meeting between the EU and the Gulf Cooperation Council to discuss the ongoing conflict in Israel and Gaza. For Belgium, the priority now is to "stop the violence, protect civilians and respect international law".
Earlier, Lahbib had condemned Hamas' attacks against Israel. "Violence and terror only perpetuates suffering and hinders the path to dialogue. Our thoughts are with all those affected. We are monitoring the situation closely," she wrote on X, formerly Twitter. She added that Israel had the right to defend itself, "to protect civilians, according to international law".
"Together with our partners in the Gulf, we will analyse the various avenues to resume dialogue and restart the peace process," she said. "Countries in the region have an important role to play in this process. That is why I am in Muscat. We must avoid regional escalation at all costs and work together for peace."
The Gulf Cooperation Council is a regional, intergovernmental, political and economic union comprising Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Belgian Foreign minister Hadja Lahbib © BELGA PHOTO BENOIT DOPPAGNE