Israel Gaza war: Qatar reassessing its role in ceasefire talks

Israel Gaza war: Qatar reassessing its role in ceasefire talks
# 18 April 2024 06:23 (UTC +04:00)

Qatar is reassessing its role as a mediator between Israel and Hamas, the country's prime minister has said, APA reports citing BBC.

Qatar has had a key role - along with Egypt and America - in trying to secure a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas and the release of Israeli hostages.

But Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said Doha had been exploited and abused and was being undermined by those trying to score political points.

He also said the current peace talks were in a "delicate phase".

Attempts to secure a ceasefire have been delicate and largely unsuccessful, but the links Qatar has with all sides - including close ties to Hamas - are regarded as crucial to achieving any breakthrough.

Mediators have proposed a six-week truce during which Hamas would free 40 women, children and elderly or sick hostages - an offer Hamas publicly rejected over the weekend.

Qatar is now openly questioning chances of those talks succeeding and says it is re-evaluating its role as a mediator.

Qatar's Sheikh Mohammed said its efforts were being undermined by politicians seeking to score points.

"Unfortunately, I mean, we have seen that there has been an abuse of this mediation and an abuse of this mediation in favour of narrow political interests," he said at a news conference in Doha.

"This means that the state of Qatar has called for a comprehensive evaluation of this role. We are now at this stage to evaluate mediation and also evaluate how the parties engage in this mediation."

He did not identify any individuals but some critical voices from within the US Congress have criticised Qatar for not putting enough pressure on Hamas to make concessions. The US accused the Palestinian armed group of being "the obstacle to a ceasefire" after it publicly rejected the latest ceasefire offer over the weekend.

With new fears that the damaging war in Gaza could escalate into a wider regional conflict as tensions rise between Israel and Iran, the Qatari premier warned against the expansion of the conflict and called on the wider international community to assume its responsibilities and stop the war.

Meanwhile, the Israeli military said 14 Israeli soldiers had been injured, six of them severely, by anti-tank missiles and drones launched from Lebanese territory towards a village in northern Israel.

The Iran-backed Lebanese armed group Hezbollah said it had fired on a military target in the Arab al-Aramshe area in retaliation for recent Israeli strikes that had killed Hezbollah commanders and other fighters.