Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan on Friday visited Oslo with the Gaza contact group of the Arab League and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to strengthen the shifting global stance for Israel to stop its attacks on Palestinian civilians.
Fidan, Palestine’s top diplomat, Riyad al-Maliki, Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, Jordan’s Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi as well as Hissein Brahim Taha, the secretary-general of the OIC were part of the group. Diplomatic sources said that the invitation for the contact group to come to Oslo came from Scandinavian and Benelux countries.
The group held talks with the foreign ministers of Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden, Iceland, Luxembourg, Norway and Finland’s permanent state secretary.
Nordic as well as Benelux countries are traditionally known for role their active in role mediation, international law and humanitarian issues. Sources said that these groups of countries adopting a more critical role toward Israel’s actions in Gaza is vital to reaching peace. The sources further said that the Oslo visit is essential as an opportunity to increase the number of countries calling for a cease-fire.
Denmark, Finland and Sweden, which had previously not voted in favor of Palestine, voted so in Tuesday’s draft resolution, showing a shift in stances.
Moreover, the Netherlands, which had abstained in Tuesday’s vote, was amid the countries the group met. Fidan and the other foreign ministers conveyed their sensibilities and the need for a cease-fire to the country.
The draft resolution including an “immediate humanitarian cease-fire demand,” which was presented by Egypt in the name of the Arab group and which has 104 co-presenter countries including Türkiye, was accepted with 153 positive votes. Ten countries voted against the resolution while 23 abstained. Israel, the U.S., Austria, Czechia, Guatemala, Liberia, Micronesia, Nauru, Paraguay and Papua New Guinea were countries voting against.
Sources underlined that the Scandinavian and Benelux countries’ will for dialogue with the contact group showed that awareness on the atrocities committed against Palestinians is increasing in western Europe.
The contact group was formed last month at the extraordinary joint summit of the Arab League and the OIC. It was assigned to take international action to stop the conflict in Gaza and help achieve lasting peace.
Türkiye has played a great role in achieving this result through months of busy diplomacy. Although Ankara condemned Hamas’ attack on Israeli civilians, it underlined that the whole Gaza population cannot be punished for the attack while attacks against the civilian population, infrastructure, schools, hospitals and refugee camps are illegal. Fidan has been in contact with his counterparts since the first day of the conflict, seeking a peaceful solution while proposing a guarantorship model to end the wider Israeli-Palestinian problem.
Over the past four weeks, the contact group has held meetings in Beijing, Moscow, London, Paris, Barcelona, New York, Washington D.C., Ottawa and Geneva.