» Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Middle East

Asked what was discussed at Cabinet about the Middle East, the PMS said that the Foreign Secretary and the Prime Minister led the discussion on the Middle East at Cabinet this morning. The Foreign Secretary gave his latest assessment of the situation and the Prime Minister reiterated some of the messages that he had given yesterday. Firstly, we needed to ensure that humanitarian aid was getting through to provide immediate relief to people in Gaza. We had significantly increased the amount of humanitarian aid we gave to Gaza in the past few days.

Secondly, we needed to ensure that we could put in place the building blocks for a sustainable ceasefire, which meant looking at issues involving borders and smuggling.

Thirdly, we needed to see how we could now move on from here. Even though this was a very difficult period for the Middle East, we needed to ask how we could move on to try and put in place a framework for a more lasting solution going forward.

Asked if there was any frustration that we had increased aid to Gaza as the money was literally going up in smoke, the PMS said that there was a needs assessment being undertaken by the UN. However, it was difficult to have a clear assessment at this point of what the damage had been. However, there was an urgent need to get humanitarian assistance into Gaza, and we were prepared to play a role in that and to continue to support the Palestinian authorities going forward.

original source.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Search for related news

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