Portugal’s foreign affairs minister in Luxembourg for meeting with EU counterparts
Portugal’s minister for foreign affairs has called on the European Union to continue to pay attention to the war in Ukraine to prevent Vladimir Putin from being “a winner of the crisis in Gaza”.
Speaking on his arrival at the meeting of EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg today, Mr Cravinho stressed the importance of the EU remaining “united around the principle of supporting humanitarian aid for the people of Gaza, the protection of innocents in Gaza and, of course, the release of (Israeli) hostages” held by Islamist group Hamas.
“On the other hand (…) it is fundamental that this war by Russia against Ukraine is not be forgotten because of the events in the Middle East.”
Mr Cravinho acknowledged that there are “other crisis” on the boil, such as hostilities between Armenia and Azerbaijan “which deserve our attention, but above all we need to prevent Putin from being a winner in the Gaza crisis“.
Asked about the conflict between Israel and Hamas, he said the EU seeks to “do everything possible to minimise the impact on civilians.
“That’s the central message we want to send to the Israelis – and then the technical and military issues will have to be dealt with by the military”, he said.
On the diplomatic efforts of other countries, Gomes Cravinho argued that it was “fundamental that there be an intense dialogue with everyone at the moment, especially with the Arab countries, the countries of the region, and… that this terrible and tragic crisis be used to create a dynamic of peace, this is what has been lacking over the last 15 years” (many would extend that time period to 75 years, if not beyond).
Cravinho went on: “Suddenly, everyone has woken up to the fact that there are deep unresolved problems in the (Palestinian) relationship with Israel and, therefore, if anything positive can come out of this, I think it is our duty to create the conditions to really look at the two-State solution after this immediate crisis”.
Today’s meeting of EU foreign ministers has been described as called “to assess the support given to Ukraine and discuss various challenges in the current geopolitical landscape, with tension in the Middle East also on the agenda”.
The 27 Member States will discuss the political, economic-financial and military support provided to Ukraine to date, and an update on sanctions against Russia is also planned. But the situation in the Middle East, with intense bombing in recent hours, is expected to dominate the agenda, particularly as it is sparking protests and divisions across the world, and has already resulted in thousands of deaths and injuries on both sides of the conflict.