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Diplomacy
President of Philippines Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr during press-conference

Saudi visit was successful and productive – PBBM

by Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.

Although the visit to Saudi Arabia was brief, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. said that it was a successful and productive one with various engagements accomplished to reaffirm the Philippines’ commitment to the partnership between the GCC and ASEAN countries, as well as to promote the country to prospect investors. In his arrival speech on Saturday following his visit to Riyadh, the President ticked off his accomplishments, mentioning the business-to-business agreements that would guarantee additional employment for Filipino workers. President Marcos described the ASEAN-GCC Summit held in Riyadh as a landmark event, adding that it was the first time that ASEAN and GCC Member States gathered together to discuss regional and international issues and on future cooperation. The six GCC member countries are Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates while Brunei, Myanmar, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam compose the ASEAN. “The Summit provided an opportunity to project the Philippines’ long-standing promotion of a rules-based international order, which is essential to the maintenance of peace, security, and stability in our regions which sit astride two of the most vibrant sea-lanes of trade and communications in the world,” President Marcos said. The President said that the Summit also provided an opportunity for the Philippines to secure a US$120-million Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that would establish a 500-person capacity training facility in the country to upskill Filipino workers in the construction industry. “The facility aims to train at least 3,000 Filipinos a year and more than 15,000 in the next 5 years, ready for deployment at any time,” President Marcos said. Another three business-to-business agreements were also discussed among Saudi and Philippine human resource companies “for the training and employment of Filipinos across a wide range of industries including healthcare; hotel, restaurant, and catering; and maintenance and operations, amongst other operations.” “These agreements are expected to generate more than USD 4.2 billion and additional 220,000 jobs for Filipinos over the next few years,” he said. President Marcos also reported resolving the outstanding bilateral issue with Kuwait at the sidelines of the Summit, including working out the lifting of the deployment ban of Filipino workers. “Now, that will end and we will now return to the normal state of affairs with the Kuwaiti government,” he said. The President said he also had the opportunity to meet with the Crown Prince and Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia, and he referred to their discussion as “very encouraging,” with anticipated capital investments pledged by the government of Saudi Arabia to the Philippines. “We exchanged views on issues of common concern to our two countries, and I expressed hope that we can sustain the momentum of high-level exchanges as we expand cooperation in key areas of mutual benefit to our peoples,” President Marcos said. In his arrival speech, President Marcos reiterated his commitment to continue to advance the country’s interest and at the same time, expand the Philippines’ partnership with ally nations. “Let me assure you that we will continue to advance our national interests as we further expand our partnerships abroad,” Marcos said. In his speech during the Summit, President Marcos emphasized further cooperation in key areas including energy and food security and enhancement of logistic chains. He also called for safeguarding of rights and welfare of Filipino workers. President Marcos arrived at the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City at 2:50 p.m. Saturday. PND

Defense & Security
PM Benjamin Netanyahu with Spanish PM Pedro Sanchez and Belgian PM Alexander De Croo

PM Netanyahu Meets with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo: - Your moral values do not stand up if you're not willing to fight for them. -

by Benjamin Netanyahu

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, today, at the Prime Minister's Knesset office, met with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo. Prime Minister Netanyahu showed them sections of the horrific footage from the IDF Spokesperson's Office and told them afterwards: "We face a peculiar kind of enemy, a particularly cruel and inhuman foe. They're genocidal. They're not fighting for this or that territory; they're fighting to eliminate the Jewish state in whatever boundary. They say so. Their charter says if you find a bush and a Jew is hiding behind it, kill the Jew. Kill all the Jews. Their goal goes beyond the destruction of Israel. They're part of an axis of terror: Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas, Houthis. They say death to America—that's the Great Satan. Israel is the Small Satan. I hope I don't find any offense with any of you. You're a middle-sized Satan. They hate our free civilization. They want to bury it. They have an ideology that is mad. In the 21st century, after the Enlightenment, after the Scientific Revolution, after the advance of human rights and democracy, this is sheer madness. I don't give it relative moralism that says, moral relativism that says, well, they have this society. They can do these horrible things to women. They can do these horrible things to human beings. That's their value system. That's not a value system. That's something that has to be fought. And one thing that we discovered in the 21st century is that our assumption that we can live our civilized lives in our advanced countries, seeking peace, prosperity and progress, and we can just sit back and the barbarians will not come back, they come back. They come back in many places, and if we are unwilling to fight the barbarians, they will win. There's a great historian that I admire, an American Christian Humanist by the name of Will Durant, who wrote, in the last century he wrote "The History of Civilization." And he said history does not favor Jesus Christ over Genghis Khan. History favors the strong. Your moral values do not stand up if you're not willing to fight for them. Here is a classic case of savagery and barbarism against civilization. Now, this savagery has two techniques. One is to deliberately target civilians. The whole laws of war, humanitarian law, which we're committed to completely, makes a simple distinction. On one line, they draw, they draw a line in the middle of the world and they say on one line are combatants, and the other line are non-combatants. You can target the combatants. You should target the combatants. But don't deliberately target the non-combatants. They can be hurt, unintentionally. That accompanies every legitimate war. What the terrorists do is erase the sense of sin. They say everyone is a target. These girls in a music festival, these women. They're targets. Babies. They're targets. Old people. They're targets. Holocaust survivors. They're targets. Everyone is a combatant. Everyone! They not only target everyone, every citizen, no one is a civilian, no one is exempt from their murder, from their harm. They also hide behind their civilians. They deliberately implant themselves in hospitals, in schools, in residential areas, in UN facilities. They fire their rockets from there. Thousands of them. We might have an alert as we speak. There is no symmetry here! These people target directly our cities all the time. Thousands and thousands and thousands of rockets. Falling on Barcelona, falling on Madrid, falling on Brussels, falling on Antwerp. Or any one of the European cities. Thousands! Israel is a small country. They deliberately target civilians and they deliberately hide behind civilians and use them as a human shield. That's a war crime. So what is a democracy, committed to the human, to the laws of war, supposed to do? Do the laws of war give exemption to such criminals? And the answer is: They don't. They say do your best to target the terrorists. Do your best to minimize civilian casualties. But if we, the democracies, accept, say that under no circumstances should we go in because civilians tragically get killed, then we lost. We lost before we begin. You lost and you lost. Spain lost. Belgium lost. Because this will spread. You will see it. Very soon. Because the Axis of Terror is not going to stop. If they can emerge victorious here, they intend to bring down the Middle East, and next they'll go to Europe. After that they'll go elsewhere. If you think I'm exaggerating, I am not. This is where the pivot of history now is going to be decided. Do we stop them there? Or do they come to you? Now, how do you stop them? What do you do? What did the Western countries, what did the democracy do when terrorists embed themselves amidst civilians? Let me say from the start that any civilian death is a tragedy. Any one. And to avoid them, what you do is first, you try to get the civilians out of harm's way. And that's exactly what we did. We asked, called, sent leaflets, phoned the civilians in the areas where we were going to hit the terrorists, the Hamas terrorists, and we said please leave. When they tried to leave, Hamas kept them at gunpoint. Stay, because Hamas doesn't care that their civilians are killed. This is a messianic death cult that hides in the bunkers. As one of their spokesmen said: the underground belongs to Hamas; aboveground, so civilians, that's Israel's problem and the UN problem. Not their problem. On the contrary. It's their shield. So, what do you do? We ask them to leave. Hamas tries to stop them from leaving. Thankfully, many left. We set up a safe corridor, from the north of Gaza, where we were concentrating our effort against the terrorists, to the south. A safe zone in the south, safe corridor to the south. Hamas shot the safe corridor. They fired on the safe corridor, so the people would be trapped in. But they kept on leaving. I'm happy to say that there is a decline in civilian casualties, which is our goal. Our goal is to have none. And primarily that's because of the ground action. The ground action has resulted in the fact that the warnings that we give are addressed by the population, the civilian population that goes south. When they go south, we give them humanitarian support. There are about 150 trucks now going in. Probably go up to 200 and beyond: food, medicine, water. I have not seen yet the effort that I'd like to see from the UN and the international agencies to build there shelters. Winter is coming and there is no reason not to build tens of thousands of tents in the safe zone, next to the safe zone. Because they don't enter the safe zone, the UN, which I think is shocking. I said, okay, we'll give you a lot of little zones. And they're building little safe zones to get the population out of harm's way. Israel is doing everything in its power to get the population out of harm's way. Hamas is doing everything in its power to keep that population in harm's way. That's the facts. I'll give you an example – Hitler, the original Nazis, they invade Europe, they do these horrors on a mass scale. And by the way, these killers would do exactly what Hitler did if they could away with it. The difference is only in capability, not in intent and not in savagery. Hitler invades Europe, perpetrates these horrible savageries, the Holocaust and so on. And so on. And the Allies invade. They invade Normandy. The German army is in the cities. You've seen the footage. The Allies say, "No, we can't do anything. We can't fire," because they're amid civilians? Of course not. They try to do exactly what we are doing: try to minimize the cost. And then they go through the cities of France and they go through the cities of Germany. And unfortunately, many, many, many civilian casualties occur. I don't know what history would have been like if we had demonstrations and protests in the West against the Allies for incurring civilian, German civilian casualties. I know history would have been very different. But we are the Allies, along with the moderate Arabs, with the United States, with Europe. We're the Allies. And they're the new Nazis. Israel cannot be held to a standard that no one is being held to. We have to fight the terrorists. We're in complete compliance with international law. I think in many ways, we're setting a different standard. We seek to minimize civilian casualties, and Hamas seeks to maximize it. And I would strongly urge you to make that distinction, not merely because it's right and just, but because your very societies are on the line. You're next. This is a battle for civilization. It has to be won. We will win it, because we have no other choice. We don't have a future if we don't. Hamas has already said, 'We'll do it again and again and again.' So we'll have to eradicate them. Just as you couldn't leave a reduced Nazi presence, you know, in Germany. You couldn't do that. And we are not going to leave a reduced Hamas presence in Gaza. But the consequences are much bigger. And I think that we should all unite in making sure that this kind of savagery never shows its face again. I thank you." The views and opinions expressed in this article solely belong to the author and do not represent the perspectives or stance of World and New World Journal, nor do they reflect the opinions of any of our employees. World and New World Journal does not endorse or take responsibility for the content, opinions, or information presented in this article. Readers are encouraged to consider multiple sources and viewpoints for a comprehensive understanding of the subject matter. Thank you for your understanding.

Diplomacy
Vladimir Putin during videoconference

Extraordinary BRICS summit

by Vladimir Putin

Vladimir Putin took part in an extraordinary BRICS summit on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, held via videoconference. The extraordinary BRICS summit on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict (held via videoconference) was attended by President of Russia Vladimir Putin, President of the Federative Republic of Brazil Luiz Lula da Silva, President of the People's Republic of China Xi Jinping, President of the Republic of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa, and Minister of External Affairs of the Republic of India Subrahmanyam Jaishankar. The states invited to join the association were represented at the summit by President of the Arab Republic of Egypt Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran Ebrahim Raisi, Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud, President of the United Arab Emirates Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia Abiy Ahmed, and Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Worship of the Argentine Republic Santiago Andres Cafiero. * * * Speech by the President of Russia President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Ramaphosa, colleagues, friends, We think the initiative of the President of South Africa, as the current chair of BRICS, to convene an extraordinary summit to discuss the escalation in the Gaza Strip, has come at the right time. The thousands of deaths and mass expulsion of civilians, the humanitarian disaster unfolding in the area are causing deep concern. Just now, one of our colleagues spoke of the deaths of a large number of children. It is terrible, but when you watch children being operated on without anaesthesia, it certainly evokes intense feelings. And all of that is, in fact, happening as a consequence of the United States’ aspiration to monopolise the mediation role in the Palestinian-Israeli settlement process and block the activities of the Middle East Quartet of international mediators. This is history’s way of demonstrating that attempts to single-handedly cut the “Palestinian knot” are unviable and counterproductive. Because of the sabotage of UN decisions, which clearly called for the establishment and peaceful coexistence of two independent and sovereign states – Israel and Palestine – more than one generation of Palestinians has grown up in an atmosphere of injustice, and Israelis cannot fully guarantee the security of their state either. Russia's stance is consistent and independent of momentary conditions. We urge the international community to join efforts aimed at de-escalating the situation, negotiating a ceasefire, and achieving a political solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The BRICS states and the countries in the region could play a key role in this work. For this reason, it is particularly significant that our colleagues from Middle Eastern countries, which received invitations to become full members of the BRICS this year, are joining our meeting today. I would like to take this opportunity to respectfully acknowledge their efforts to normalise the situation. In particular, I am referring to the Peace Summit hosted by Egypt and the joint Arab-Islamic extraordinary summit in Saudi Arabia. It is worth noting that all BRICS countries have similar positions on the need to collectively reach long-term and durable settlement of the long-standing Palestinian-Israeli problem. This was reflected during voting on the draft resolution on a humanitarian truce in the UN General Assembly and in discussing a UN Security Council resolution on the Middle East settlement process, which was adopted for the first time in the past seven years. Although this resolution contains merely an appeal for humanitarian pauses rather than a full ceasefire, we consider the very fact of its approval a step in the right direction. I would like to emphasise that such humanitarian pauses and, better still, a full ceasefire is essential to continue the efforts to free hostages and evacuate civilians and foreigners from the Gaza Strip. I must express again my deep gratitude to President [of Egypt Abdel Fattah] el-Sisi, and all our Egyptian colleagues for their help in resolving many challenging issues linked with receiving and sending home the Russian citizens that had left the conflict area. Of course, by all accounts, the most urgent goal is to reach a truly long-term and sustainable truce. I agree with my Brazilian colleague that it is important that other states not get drawn into a war in the Middle East and that the conflict not spread in any way, as is preserving the fragile peace between religions. In this context, we consider it extremely useful to continue discussing subsequent developments in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in BRICS. If there are no objections, colleagues, we will initiate possible contacts, including via videoconference, concerning these issues during Russia’s upcoming BRICS presidency next year. In general, the new format of emergency online summit meetings suggested by President [of South Africa Cyril] Ramaphosa appears to be quite promising. Importantly, this applies not only to the Middle East settlement but to other urgent global and regional issues. Thank you for your attention. The views and opinions expressed in this article solely belong to the author and do not represent the perspectives or stance of World and New World Journal, nor do they reflect the opinions of any of our employees. World and New World Journal does not endorse or take responsibility for the content, opinions, or information presented in this article. Readers are encouraged to consider multiple sources and viewpoints for a comprehensive understanding of the subject matter. Thank you for your understanding. 

Diplomacy
Austrian Paliament

Speech by Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg at the 241st session of the National Council on Hamas' terrorist attack on Israel

by Alexander Schallenberg

Dear Madam President Ladies and gentlemen of the House, Dear visitors in the gallery! I just want to say that I am grateful. Grateful for this unanimous decision in this House. This is a really important signal that also strengthens my position. We must never forget: October 7 really was a breach of civilization. In terms of its cruelty, it was a day that actually eclipsed everything. In a region that is not short of atrocities as it is. I will never forget when I received a phone call on that Saturday with the question: Mr. Federal Minister, how good are your stomach nerves? And I said yes, they are good. And then I was sent videos and photos that I knew were authentic. These pictures will never leave me again. The last time I saw something similar was in connection with the Daesh videos. The cruelty, the bloodlust, the dehumanization. And I am therefore very grateful that we have such a clear position here in Austria. I believe that each and every one of us is called upon to take a clear stance on terrorism - no matter where, no matter how. Murder is murder! You must not put something into context, because that means relativizing it. Never in the history of mankind has a conflict come out of the blue. There is always a prehistory for everything. Also for the Russian attack on Ukraine, which we have not put into context either. And of course international humanitarian law applies. But that is precisely the difference - and several MEPs have emphasized this - that Israel is a constitutional state, a pluralistic democracy. It is struggling, it is trying to find the right path. And MP Matznetter also said that we don't want to be in the IDF's shoes. Because it's almost an inhuman task to keep a cool head in such an emotionally charged situation. Yes, they drop leaflets. Yes, they warn. They call for evacuation. They try to keep civilian casualties to a minimum. And yes, we see what we have actually always known, that Hamas deliberately uses civilian facilities such as schools, refugee camps, hospitals and others for their command centers, tunnel entrances, to hide their weapons there. In other words, as a democracy, as a constitutional state in the fight against terrorism, one hand is always tied behind its back. But that is the right thing to do, it has to be that way. You can see from Israel that they are trying. Three points now have priority: The first point is to prevent a wildfire. This is still not averted. It could end up being a three-front war. We are of course keeping a very close eye on developments in northern Israel and in southern Lebanon with Hezbollah. But, and I would like to emphasize this in particular: Austria is not blind with one eye, we see with both eyes. This applies to the West Bank. And I have to say quite frankly: I consider the settler violence that we see in the West Bank to be intolerable. It is also a lack of solidarity. We are currently dealing with a situation in which the Israeli army is stretched to the limit. And then I think it's a lack of solidarity within Israeli society if some people think they can vent their anger, their emotions and set fire to the West Bank. That could lead to a third front. We have to be very clear about this. The second point is of course - as has already been mentioned several times - the unconditional release of the hostages. I had the opportunity to meet some of the survivors of October 7 here in Vienna last week. It really got under your skin. When you meet a father who tells you that he is actually almost relieved because his child is among the dead and not among the hostages, it's hard to imagine what that must mean for these people. We have to stay on it. This is a terrorist organization, there can be no ifs and buts. There can be no negotiations. They must release the hostages unconditionally. The third point - this is also important to me: I myself was one of the first ministers to put development cooperation with Palestine on hold and ordered an evaluation. We do not want to support Hamas. At the same time, however, we do not want the civilian population to suffer. That would again be fertile ground for the next extremism. We have therefore made EUR 2 million available for humanitarian aid via the Austrian Development Agency. A further EUR 6 million for the region - for Syria, Lebanon and Jordan - which of course run the risk of being destabilized. I think it is good that the European Union has quadrupled humanitarian aid. But, and we saw the European Commission's report on development cooperation a few days ago, I believe we must not be naive. In future, we in Austria will take a very close look at which partner organizations - whether in Gaza or Israel, Mali, Burkina Faso, Mozambique - we work with. What does it say on their websites? What does the umbrella organization in which they are affiliated say? Is there racism, is there anti-Semitism? Are there lines that we cannot support because of our values? This is also a lesson for me from the horrific incident on October 7. In future, we need to take a much closer look at exactly who we are helping and how. Thank you very much!

Energy & Economics
President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins giving speech at World Food Form

Keynote address the Closing Ceremony of the World Food Forum

by Michael D. Higgins

Director-General, Your Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, Dear Friends, Young and Old, This week, as we have gathered here at the World Food Forum in the headquarters of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations in Rome to discuss the necessary transformation of our agri-food systems, we must not only be conscious of targets missed or imperfectly achieved, but of the need for courage, and to generate new capacity to move to new models of better connection between economy, social protection, social justice and ecology. We are confronted with a climate and biodiversity emergency that cannot be handled by the tools that produced it or by the architecture of how we made decisions before. We are called upon to, once and for all, tackle with alternatives and sustained effort and innovation, the vicious circle of global poverty and inequality, global hunger, debt and climate change, our interacting crises. That is the context in which sustainable food systems must be achieved. I ask you all gathered today to respond in the most meaningful way within your capacity, within your generation, in a way that includes all generations, to the challenge set out by United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres in his recent statements: This is how the Secretary-General put it: “The Sustainable Development Goals aren’t just a list of goals. They carry the hopes, dreams, rights and expectations of people everywhere. In our world of plenty, hunger is a shocking stain on humanity and an epic human rights violation. It is an indictment of every one of us that millions of people are starving in this day and age.” It can be put right but we must change and there is work involved in upskilling in such a way that we can not only identify and critique assumptions of failing models but be able to put the alternative models in place. We have had so many broken promises. Only 15 percent of some 140 specific targets to achieve the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals are on track to be achieved. Many targets are going in the wrong direction at the present rate, and not a single one is expected to be achieved in the next seven years. However, we have some reasons to be hopeful. When I look around this room today, I see so many engaged and committed people, including young people who have the enthusiasm, energy and creativity needed to tackle the serious structural causes of food insecurity and global hunger. But it is important to acknowledge that young people are not alone in seeking authenticity of words delivered into actions that have an ethical outcome. There are those who have spent their lives seeking a fairer world, one in which hunger would be eliminated – as it can be. We must recognise their efforts. We must work together to harness this collective energy and creativity into strong movements that will deliver, finally, a food-secure world for all. This will require, I suggest, moving to a new culture of sharing information, experiences, insights. As the cuts have taken effect, we must take the opportunity of developing a view, post-silo culture, of sharing insights, and I see FAO as uniquely positioned for this. As Glenn Denning, Peter Timmer and other food experts have stated, achieving food security is not an easy task given how food hunger is “deeply entwined with the organisation of economic activities and their regulation through public policies”, given, too, how governments and markets must work together, how the private, public and third sectors must work together. All of our efforts must have the character of inclusivity. Each of us as global citizens has a responsibility to respond. To ignore it would be a dereliction of our duty of care to our shared planet and its life-forms including our fellow humans and future generations. The Secretary-General’s pleas in relation to the consequences of climate change are given a further terrible reality in the increased and spreading threat of hunger, a food insecurity which is directly affected by the impact of climate change. For example, figures published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations show that 26.2 percent of Africa’s population experienced severe food insecurity in 2021, with 9.8 percent of the total global population suffering from undernourishment the same year. It is time for us all, as leaders and global citizens, to take stock of how words are leading to actions, to increase the urgency of our response to what is a grave existential threat and to achieve change. It is clear, as the Secretary-General’s powerful statement shows, that we need to begin the work of reform in our international institutional architecture, such as UN reform at the highest level, including the Security Council and the Bretton Woods institutions, if we are to achieve what the Secretary-General has suggested is the challenge to “turn a year of burning heat into a year of burning ambition”. Let us commit then to sharing purposes, projects, resources, seeking a new culture for sustenance solutions. Those of us who have spent much of our lives advocating UN reform believe that its best prospects are in the growing acknowledgement of the importance of the vulnerabilities and frustrated capacity of the largest and growing populations of the world being represented, not only nominally but effectively, through a reform that includes reform of the Bretton-Woods Institutions. As Secretary-General Guterres has said on a number of occasions, it is time to reform what are 1945 institutions, including the Security Council and Bretton Woods, in order to align with the “realities of today’s world”. We have to acknowledge too that the development models of the 1950s and 1960s were part of the assumptions that brought us to the crises through which we are living. New models are needed and the good news is that a new epistemology, our way of looking at the world, of sufficiency and sustainability, is emerging. We are seeing good work already occurring. Good development scholarship is available to us. I reference, for example Pádraig Carmody’s recent book, Development Theory and Practice in a Changing World. Such work builds important bridges from the intellectual work that is so badly needed and is welcome at the centre of our discourse on all aspects of interacting crises, including global hunger, and the need to link economy, ecology and a global ethics. What we must launch now is a globalisation from below. Replacing the globalisation from above that has given us a burning planet and threatened democracy itself, with a globalisation from below of the fullest participation, we can establish and indeed extend democracy, offering accountability and transparency of our work together. Writers such as Pádraig Carmody are not alone in suggesting that achieving the Sustainable Development Goals provides the opportunity for moving past the worst contradictions of failed models and dangerous undeclared assumptions. The demise of hegemonic development theory and practice may be a result of several factors, such as the rise of ultra-nationalism around the world, the increasing importance of securitisation where the most powerful insulate their lives from the actions of the excluded, and the existential threat posed by the climate crisis. Such research adds to the growing body of development literature that argues for a pro-active, structural-focused, tailored approach to development. The Hand-in-Hand Initiative of the FAO, details of which were discussed at this week’s parallel session, is a most welcome initiative, one that aims to raise incomes, improve the nutritional status and well-being of poor and vulnerable populations, and strengthen resilience to climate change. It heralds a belated recognition too of the insufficiency of a reactive emergency response to famine and hunger crises. It suggests a move towards one that tackles the underlying structural causes of hunger. Young people will need patience and to dig sufficiently deep to achieve these necessary changes. They are right in seeking to be partners, so much more than being allowed as attendees. Hand-in-Hand recognises the importance of tailor-made interventions to food security, using the best available evidence in the form of spatial data, validated on the ground through local diagnostics and policy processes, to target the most food insecure, the most hungry, the poorest. It recognises that context-specific employment and labour market policies are part of the sustainability challenge. I believe that evidence from below is crucial to achieving globalisation from below and that it can be achieved by a reintroduction of new re-casted anthropology guided by, among others, the new African scholars now available, whose work is empirical and peer-tested, can be invaluable in giving transparency on projects and investments – a strategy for fact-gathering for empowerment of rural people so like the 1955 fact-gathering with rural people of the FAO – first published in 1955 and used by me in 1969! Young people must be about upskilling to be able to critique all of the assumptions guiding the policies on to their lives. A key objective for us now must be to strengthen institutional capacity on the ground, not only at the strategic level, but also fundamentally, so that the public, farmers, and other stakeholders’ institutions are enabled to participate in territories-based agri-food systems. Such a move is fundamental to a successful food security strategy. Our institutional architecture and the multilateral bodies within it, must be made fit for purpose if we are to tackle effectively and meaningfully our contemporary food insecurity crisis which is worsening according to the 2023 Global Report on Food Crises, with 258 million people across 58 countries suffering acute food insecurity. Perhaps most crucially, we must acknowledge, as United Nations Programmes such as the Hand-in-Hand Initiative does, the critical importance of partnership and collaboration in addressing global hunger. We must do everything we can to ensure cross-sectoral co-ordination, foster coherent development actions, under a common, shared vision. We must end all wasteful competitive silo behaviours, create a culture of openness and co-operation. The FAO is well positioned to lead on this with its new invigorated partnerships with the World Food Programme (WFP) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). Co-operation in the development and implementation of new models will be key to the achieving of any targets that seek to be sustainable and inclusive. For example, I suggest it will achieve best results if funders, such as the African Development Bank, are enabled and funded to work closely with research institutes, both at the national and international level, but particularly take account of field studies conducted over time at local level in the new anthropology so as to ensure that findings from the latest research feed into the design and implementation of any financial supports and investments. By providing a platform, a shared interactive transparent space for national authorities and producers, national and global businesses, multilateral development banks and donors to discuss and advance ways and means to finance the supported national food programmes, initiatives such as Hand-in-Hand are proving to be an effective flagship programme of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations. Co-operation must work both ways. For example, the parts of the so-called ‘developed’ world suffering from problems of high levels of obesity and food wastage must learn from the deep knowledge and wisdom existing in the most populated continents, as well as the science, which points to a new ecological revolution, one in which agroecology – the bringing of ecological principles to develop new management approaches in agroecosystems – can play a fundamental role, especially for the poorest of our global citizens. We have seen the destructive impact of colonial models of agronomy promoting an over-reliance on a small number of commodity crops, herders incentivised to become less mobile and store less grain in order to maximise commodity crop production, and increasing imports in conditions of near monopoly of seeds, pesticides and fertilisers. This had the deadly effect of opening up farmers not only to the full force of extended droughts, the ravages of variable climate conditions, and a reliance on non-indigenous inputs, but also to global spaces where they have insufficient influence. We must retreat from these dysfunctional food systems model, with their related dependencies, with urgency and embrace models of sufficiency and effective local markets and see the value of making our way too that includes agro-ecological models that promote food security and development opportunities for the poorest people on our fragile planet. Adaptation and responding to the already changing climate is crucial for all of us, and especially in the most food-insecure nations. We must restore degraded ecosystems, introduce drought-resistant crops, ensure accessible digital services for smallholder farms, while creating new, sustainable green jobs for young people so that we may forge a smart, sustainable, climate-resilient development path for the continent. This week we have to acknowledge the many challenges we face including, inter alia, the energy, climate and biodiversity crises, war and conflict which exacerbate food insecurity, ensuring enabling policy environments, and reaching the long-term goal of sustainable food system transformation. Any agri-food initiative, be it for Africa, the Middle-East, Central or South America, or other food-insecure regions, must place inclusivity at its core. Specifically, more vulnerable, smallholder farmers must be targeted for inclusion as programme beneficiaries, not just large-scale, industrial level farmers and ever-expanding commercial plantations. Research has shown that irresponsible agri-business deals are sometimes falsely legitimated by the promotion of alleged achievement of Sustainable Development Goal Number 2 at any cost, without care as to consequence, ignoring the reality that smallholders need enabling policies to enhance their role in food production; that food insecurity is linked to rights, processes, and unequal access to land resources; and that dispossession disproportionately affects women farmers. On this latter issue of gender, achieving zero hunger requires gender-inclusive land and labour policies. Actions must prioritise the inclusion of women and girls who are more food insecure than men in every region of the world. Women must have a right to land recognised and enshrined. The gender gap in food security has grown exponentially in recent years, and will only deteriorate further in the absence of targeted intervention. Women are obviously the most impacted victims of the food crisis, thus they must be a part of the solution. Women produce up to 80 percent of foodstuffs. Empowering women farmers can thus serve as a transformative tool for food security. However, female farmers have, research tell us, limited access to physical inputs, such as seeds and fertiliser, to markets, to storage facilities and this must be addressed. Climate change, and our response to it, addressing global hunger and global poverty, exposing and breaking dependency is a core theme of my Presidency. It is the most pressing existential crisis that our vulnerable planet and its global citizens face. Throughout the world, young people and the youth sector have been at the vanguard of efforts to tackle climate change. Young people have demonstrated, time and again, how well-informed and acutely aware they are of the threat that climate change poses, as well as its uneven and unequal impacts. May I suggest to all of you that, as young innovators and future leaders in your respective fields, you will be at your best, achieve the greatest fulfilment for yourself and others, when you locate your contribution within a commitment to be concerned and contributing global citizens. Take time to ask how is my energy in the tasks of hand and brain being delivered and for whose benefit. May I suggest, too, that you will be remembered and appreciated all the more if you work to ensure that the results of science, technology are shared and that all human endeavours are allowed to flow across borders for the human benefit of all and with a commitment to ecological responsibility and inclusivity. Offer your efforts where they can have the best effect for all. Locate yourselves in the heart of the populated world, as Nobel Laureate William Campbell did with his research on river blindness. Changing our food systems is, however, let us not forget, an intergenerational challenge that requires an inter-generational approach. We must now empower youth to be in the driver’s seat to build a new, better, transparent model of food security in a variety of different settings. Let us endeavour, together, in our diverse world, to seek to build a co-operative, caring and non-exploitative global civilisation free from hunger, a shared planet, a global family at peace with nature and neighbours, resilient to the climate change that is already occurring, one based on foundations of respect for each nation’s own institutions, traditions, experiences and wisdoms, founded on a recognition of the transcendent solidarity that might bind us together as humans, and reveal a recognition of the responsibility we share for our vulnerable planet and the fundamental dignity of all those who dwell on it. Thank you. Beir beannacht.

Diplomacy
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Denmark Lars Løkke Rasmussen giving speech at support event at the Jewish community

Speech at support event at the Jewish community

by Lars Løkke Rasmussen

Held in Copenhagen Synagogue 14.10.2023 By Lars Løkke Rasmussen, Minister for Foreign Affairs Your Majesty, Ambassador, Dear all. Thank you for letting me share this evening with you. I have no idea how each of you has been doing this past week. With friends and family caught in the center of the crisis. With people you care about, who live their everyday lives in an Israel under attack. With all the worries that come with it. Are they affected? Have they made it? What happens next? Terrible stories that make an impression around the world. One of them, which is still in my body, is about an ordinary family who lived in a kibbutz close to the Gaza border. A dad. A mother. And three little girls. When the attacks began on Saturday morning, all five of them ran towards the nearest shelter. They arrived safely. The wife wrote a message to their friends in Australia: "Everything is okay." An hour later she stopped responding. The friends called and called, but the mobile was silent. On Sunday morning, the Israeli authorities shared a photo of the family. With big smiles and green trees in the background. The mother keeps a loving arm around the eldest daughter. Like hundreds of other innocent Israelis, they were liquidated by barbaric terrorists. Hamas had reportedly broken into their shelter. It is not to be worn. *** The attack on Israel stirs many emotions. Fear. Anger. Impotence. Hope. Vengeance. Love. We must make room for it all, but what is lost cannot be returned. But you are not alone. An entire nation shares your tears and supports you. Denmark stands, as the Prime Minister also emphasized, side by side with Israel. *** We are gathered here tonight to remember. To collect our thoughts and pick each other up. I had the honor of speaking here in the synagogue five years ago. At that time we marked the 75th anniversary of the Jews' flight from Denmark. It was a touching evening. October 1943 is one of the most important events in recent Danish history. And a cornerstone in the relationship between Denmark and Israel. Today, 80 years later, it is hard to imagine that Danish families had to flee for their lives because of their origins and their faith. That innocent citizens should be sent to concentration camps to die. But it happened. *** Earlier this week we marked the 80th anniversary. A selection that had a certain duality in it. For October 1943 is both a story of light and darkness. Mourning those who were murdered. Joy to those who got to safety. Shame on the few who tried to sabotage the escape. Pride in the many who risked their lives to save their fellow citizens. Those who took responsibility and reached out. To a Jewish people who displayed heroic courage. It is hard to find the same duplicity in what befell the Israeli people last Saturday. Because right now the darkness is clearest, the pain seems endless. A sad glimpse from the past. But even if the light has difficulty finding its way, it exists somewhere out there. We have to insist on that. Even in the darkest of times, hope will peek out. I think you can feel that on a night like tonight. We must not let the hatred of the terrorists win. We must insist on preserving our humanity. *** The attack on Saturday is being called by many Israel's 9/11. It is difficult to write history as it unfolds before our eyes. But I still think it's an apt description. A decisive historical turning point. This is a wake-up call for all of us. We made a promise to the Jewish people after the end of World War II. A promise of a homeland where Jews could gather and live in peace. Denmark was a warm supporter of the establishment of the state of Israel. The Jewish people have been through enough. And you are a strong people. But what is happening right now calls for reflection. And on crystal clear commitments from the entire world community. You must hold us up to them. As Ben Gurion said so wisely: “History is not something you write. It is something you create.” *** I know that Jews also feel the insecurity at home. Do you have to keep the kippa on? Or replace it with a cap that you - Jair [Melchior] - have suggested to your own son. I understand, you end up there. Better to be on the safe side, one might say. But that is completely unacceptable. It is completely unacceptable that Danish Jews have to beat themselves up like that in order to be here in Denmark. Hide away and look over your shoulder. It shouldn't be like that. It must not be like that. And I would like to help give the promise tonight that the government will do everything in our power to protect the Danish Jews. Protect your freedom. Your safety. Your right to live an ordinary Jewish life in Denmark. In the Denmark that reached out to the Jewish people 80 years ago. Because Denmark is still here. Thank you.

Defense & Security
Prime Minister of Finland Petteri Orpo

European Union to continue to support Ukraine over the long term

by Petteri Orpo

The European Union will continue to provide strong military, financial, economic, and diplomatic support and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine. The EU leaders decided on the matter on the closing day of the European Council held in Brussels on 26–27 October. Prime Minister Petteri Orpo represented Finland at the meeting. Prime Minister Orpo highlighted the importance of the EU’s pledge to provide security commitments to Ukraine in the future. “It is important that we reach an agreement quickly on the EU’s security commitments to Ukraine. We should be ready to make political decisions on the matter at the December European Council,” Orpo said. The EU leaders had already exchanged views on Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine in a video discussion with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on the first day of the Council. The EU will speed up the delivery of military support, such as missiles, ammunition, and air defence systems, to Ukraine. “We must strengthen the EU’s defence sector and reinforce the capacity of the European defence industry as quickly as possible. A strong EU also strengthens NATO and transatlantic cooperation,” said Prime Minister Orpo. Prime Minister Orpo also called for progress on the use of frozen Russian assets to support Ukraine. The Euro Summit held in connection with the European Council focused on the overall economic and financial situation and economic policy coordination. In Prime Minister Orpo’s view, the EU must be more competitive both internally and globally given the current geopolitical situation. “A well-functioning and competitive single market, for example in the service sector, plays a key role. Fair competition is an important factor in ensuring growth capacity. We must return to the normal State aid rules as soon as possible,” said Prime Minister Orpo. In its conclusions, the European Council emphasises the need to speed up work on developing digital services, clean technology, and clean energy production, transitioning towards a more circular economy and reducing the regulatory burden. “The EU must continue to be a global leader in the energy transition and clean technology solutions. I highlighted the potential of the bioeconomy and circular economy in renewing European industry. At the same time, we must reduce the regulatory burden on businesses,” Orpo emphasised. On the last day of the meeting, the EU leaders also held a strategic discussion on migration. Prime Minister Orpo stressed that migration is a common European challenge and called for long-term solutions. “We need to build well-functioning partnerships with countries of origin and transit. We must also be able to return people who do not have a legal right to reside in the European Union,” said Prime Minister Orpo. In their discussion on other items, the EU leaders condemned the recent terrorist attacks in Belgium and France, which killed and injured Swedish and French nationals. The discussion on external relations focused on the tensions between Kosovo and Serbia and between Armenia and Azerbaijan, and on the situation in the Sahel. The European Council also received an update on the preparations for the UN Climate Change Conference (COP28) in Dubai.

Diplomacy
Giorgia Meloni, Prime Minister of Italy

President Meloni’s address at the Cairo Summit for Peace

by Giorgia Meloni

President Al-Sisi, thank you for the speed and determination with which you have organised this conference. I consider this to be a very important conference following the terrible attack by Hamas on 7 October which, we must remember, was carried out against unarmed civilians with unprecedented, appalling brutality, and which, from our point of view, it is right to unambiguously condemn. It was only right for Italy to participate in this conference, given its historical role as a bridge for dialogue between Europe, the Mediterranean and the Middle East, and also considering the opportunities presented by this summit, despite the fact that starting positions may seem somewhat distant at times because, even if our starting viewpoints may not perfectly overlap, what does perfectly overlap is our interest – the interest of all leaders sitting around this table, and that interest is to ensure what is happening in Gaza does not become a much wider conflict, that it does not turn into a religious war, a clash of civilisations, as that would mean the efforts courageously made over the last years to the contrary, to normalise relations, would have been in vain. The impression I get – and I am saying this with my usual frankness – is that, considering the way Hamas carried out its attack, its real objective was not to defend the right of the Palestinian people, but rather to force a response against Gaza that would fundamentally undermine any attempts at dialogue and create an unbridgeable gap between Arab countries, Israel, the West, thereby definitively compromising peace and well-being for all citizens involved, including those it says it wants to defend and represent. This means that we are all the target, and I do not think we can fall into this trap: that would be very stupid indeed. This is why I believe it is important to be here, why I believe it is very important to continue dialogue and discussions. I believe there are a number of key points to be reiterated. Firstly, terrorism has hit the Muslim world more than it has the West. In fact, terrorist acts over time have weakened peoples’ legitimate demands, especially in the Muslim world. Within this dynamic, there is the choice of Hamas to use terrorism to prevent any kind of dialogue and any prospect of arriving at a concrete solution, also for the Palestinian people. However, no cause justifies terrorism. No cause justifies actions that are knowingly designed to target unarmed civilians. No cause justifies women being massacred and newborns being decapitated, deliberately filmed on camera. No cause. When faced with such actions, a State is fully entitled to claim its right to exist, defend itself and ensure the security of its citizens and borders. However, and this brings me to the second point, a State’s reaction cannot and must not ever be driven by feelings of revenge. This is why States are what they are; they are our point of reference. A State bases its reactions on precise security reasons, ensuring proportionate use of force and protecting the civilian population. These are the boundaries within which a State’s reaction to terrorism must remain, and I am confident that this is also the will of the State of Israel. Thirdly, our immediate priority remains humanitarian access, which is essential to prevent further suffering among the civilian population as well as mass exoduses that would contribute to destabilising this region. This is something we do not need. I consider the mediation work that has been carried out in this regard by several players attending this conference to be very important. I consider the European Commission’s decision to triple its humanitarian aid for Gaza, taking the total to over EUR 75 million, to also be very important. Italy is also working to increase bilateral aid, but an increase in resources must clearly be accompanied by very strict control over who uses those resources. Encouraging developments are coming from this morning. President Al-Sisi, I thank you for this too. We are very concerned about the fate of the hostages in the hands of Hamas, and, as you know, there are also Italians among them. We ask for the immediate release of all hostages, clearly starting with women, children and the elderly. It is important to keep working together to get vulnerable people and foreign civilians out of Gaza. Above all, we must do the impossible to avoid an escalation of this crisis, to avoid losing control of what may happen, because the consequences would be unimaginable. The most serious way to achieve this goal is to resume a political initiative for a structural solution to the crisis based on the prospect of two peoples and two States. This solution must be concrete and, in my view, it must have a defined time frame. The Palestinian people must have the right to be a nation that governs itself, freely, next to a State of Israel whose right to exist and right to security must be fully recognised. In this regard, Italy is ready to do absolutely everything that is necessary. Thank you again, Mr. President.

Diplomacy
Vladimir Putin with Prime Minister of Iraq, Muhammed Shia al-Sudani

Russia-Iraq talks

by Vladimir Putin , Mohammed Chia al-Soudani

Vladimir Putin met with Prime Minister of the Republic of Iraq Muhammed Shia Al-Sudani, currently on an official visit to Russia. The beginning of Russia-Iraq talks President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Prime Minister, colleagues, friends, Welcome to Russia and Moscow. Mr Prime Minister, We are delighted to see you. Relations between our countries are developing rather successfully. Next year, we will mark the 80th anniversary of diplomatic relations. In previous decades, our country accomplished very much in building relations with Iraq, and in the most diverse fields – first and foremost in the economic sphere. An intergovernmental commission is working on this today. In 2022, our trade soared by 43 percent but, unfortunately, dropped this year. We have a lot to discuss. In this sense, of course, your visit is quite timely. The energy sector is certainly the main aspect of our collaboration. Our largest companies operate rather successfully in your country. Our companies have invested a total of about $19 billion, and our collaboration, already quite effective in this area, is only going to expand. We coordinate our work within the OPEC + format, and we are doing this rather successfully in order to stabilise the situation on global markets. On the whole, we are enjoying much success, and I hope that we will continue working in this manner moving forward. We have many bilateral objectives, and we will focus our attention on all of them. Tomorrow, we will take part in a plenary meeting of the Russian Energy Week. This is a valuable and respectable international event in the field of global energy, during which specialists and experts can convene and discuss current developments, as well as shorter-term and remote prospects. Of course, your visit to Russia is taking place amid crises: the Ukrainian crisis continues, and, unfortunately, we are witnessing a sharp deterioration of the situation in the Middle East. I think that many will agree with me that this is a clear example of the United States’ failed policy in the Middle East, which tried to monopolise the settlement process, but, unfortunately, was not concerned with finding compromises acceptable to both sides, but, on the contrary, put forward its own ideas about how this should be done and put pressure on both sides, truly both: first on one, then on the other. But each time without considering the fundamental interests of the Palestinian people, bearing in mind, first of all, the need to implement the decision of the UN Security Council on the creation of an independent, sovereign Palestinian state. But in any case, no matter what happens there… I know your position, Mr Prime Minister, and our position is that harm to the civilian population should be minimised and reduced to zero, and we call on all sides of the conflict to do so. We will certainly talk about this, as well as other problems, during your visit today. After the expanded meeting, we are also planning a face-to-face conversation during a private lunch. There will be an opportunity to discuss everything in detail. Welcome again, Mr Prime Minister. Prime Minister of the Republic of Iraq Muhammed Shia Al-Sudani (retranslated): Thank you very much, Mr President. Greetings to the members of the delegations. Thank you very much for the invitation to visit Russia. Russia is a friendly country we have deep and historic ties with. I would like to once again express Iraq’s gratitude to Russia for its support in the fight against terrorism, the war against terrorism, for providing us with weapons so that we could resist armed terrorist gangs. Without a doubt, this episode in the relationship is very valuable; 2014 was of great importance for relations between our countries. With our visit, we want to strengthen interaction and develop relations that have excellent prospects in the political, security, cultural and economic spheres. We have many different opportunities before us. We have a good foundation; there are Russian companies that operate, for example, in the oil and gas sector. Our countries play an important role on the oil market, and therefore it is important for us to continue bilateral coordination and cooperation within the OPEC+ format. This coordination should be based on consideration of supply and demand mechanisms, and the interests of investors, producers and consumers. We will, of course, touch on and discuss these issues during today’s meeting. And tomorrow we will also have a good opportunity to discuss these issues, as well as energy issues, which, of course, are the focus of many, including the Iraqi government. Our visit is taking place at a time when we can see the implementation of a large development project that will ensure trade between Asia and Europe and contribute to the integration of transport corridors, I mean the North – South Transport Corridor first of all. This will support all countries in the region and the entire world and have a positive effect on them. Now, developments in Palestine have taken a complicated and dangerous turn. This is the natural result of the fact that Israel has continued to violate the rights of Palestinians, while the international community has remained silent and failed to live up to its obligations under internationally recognised resolutions. We are now witnessing another Intifada: an uprising of Palestinians demanding to put an end to such violations of their rights. An obvious escalation, and a very dangerous one, with civilians killed as a result and spontaneous bombings carried out, including against civilian targets: all this may result in the destruction of the Gaza Strip. Now we all, as Arab and Islamic countries, and also together with Russia, a permanent member of the [UN] Security Council, a great power, have a responsibility here. This is a moral responsibility, including on major powers, to stop these violations of the rights of Palestinians and to end the blockade of the Gaza Strip. Of course, today Iraq is trying to maintain stability in all regions through its policies, including with regard to the Ukrainian crisis. We have suffered greatly from blockades and war; of course, that is why our position is firm: we support the search for peaceful solutions through dialogue to end conflicts that have very negative consequences at the humanitarian level and at the economic level. Obviously, the purpose of this visit is discussing these issues and our common positions as well as strengthening our bilateral relations. We also want to contribute to relieving the suffering in the region and ensuring stability in the Middle East and the entire world. Thank you. Vladimir Putin: Thank you. <…>

Defense & Security
Hanke Bruins Slot, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands

Speech Minister Bruins Slot at the UN Security Council open debate on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question

by Hanke Bruins Slot

Speech by Hanke Bruins Slot, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, at the UN Security Council quarterly open debate on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question, 24 October 2023. The spoken word applies. Thank you, Mr President, I thank the Secretary-General for his briefing. Mr President, On 7 October, the world witnessed a horrific terrorist attack on Israel. The horrendous violence carried out by Hamas was not aimed at military targets. Rather, it was an attempt to destroy people’s souls. By taking hostages and, murdering civilians, and this threat from Hamas is far from over. In this context we should all stand united: by supporting Israel. And its right to self-defence against the terror threat of Hamas. As we’ve said before: the use of force in self-defence must be necessary and proportionate. And international humanitarian law must be respected. By all parties. This means that every possible measure to protect civilians must be taken. That humanitarian workers must be able to do their job safely and unhindered. And that UN premises and personnel remain safe from harm. All of this requires restraint on the part of Israel in the use of force. Mr President, the Kingdom of the Netherlands shares the concerns voiced by so many today. The situation for civilians in Gaza is catastrophic. They are in dire need of aid. We cannot afford to lose more time. So far, the first convoys have entered Gaza. We need a sustained flow of humanitarian aid of all basis needs. And much more is needed, including fuel. Water supplies need to be restored immediately. Humanitarian pauses are crucial to allow much-needed aid to get through. And a permanent humanitarian corridor is the only way to prevent the situation getting much worse. The Netherlands will step up its humanitarian response. We’ve committed an additional 10 million euros for immediate humanitarian relief; 8 million euros of which is for UNWRA. This funding aims to improve the living conditions for Palestinian citizens, including mental health and psychosocial support. We are also extremely concerned about the conflict spreading beyond the borders of Israel and Gaza. And we call on all concerned to prevent this from happening. We also urge all parties to do their utmost to prevent further escalation in the West Bank. In this context, we will continue with our development aid for stability. The Palestinian Authority fulfils an important role within their power in preventing a further deterioration and deserves our strong support. Settler violence is worsening an already tense situation. This must stop. Let me conclude, Mr President, by saying that our thoughts and prayers are with all the victims and the hostages that need to be released immediately and unconditionally. When the UN was created in the aftermath of the Second World War, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was one of the first major crises calling for urgent attention. Today, more than 75 years later, the need to find a solution to this conflict is more pressing and crucial than ever. The Netherlands calls on this Council to provide the leadership required to manage this crisis, contain it and provide perspective on sustainable peace and security for Israelis and Palestinians as the only way forward. In this context I would like to thank the tireless efforts of the UN and express my gratitude to the UN staff acting on the ground. We cannot go back to the status quo; the two-state solution is more urgently needed than ever. Because both sides need it, both sides are entitled to it, and both sides deserve it. Thank you, Mr President.