President Petr Pavel with King Abdullah II. Credit: Zuzana Bonisch / hrad.cz

President Pavel Meets Jordan’s King Abdullah II To Discuss Security in the Middle East

The conflict in the Gaza Strip must be brought to an end as soon as possible, Czech President Petr Pavel and Jordan’s King Abdullah II agreed at a meeting in the Jordanian capital of Amman today.

The longer the Israeli military operation and the suffering of Palestinian civilians continues, the worse Israel’s position will become and the harder it will be to find a solution, Pavel told Czech journalists.

Pavel and Abdullah II agreed on the need for efforts on the Israeli side to bring the military operation to an end and reach some kind of ceasefire that would allow further negotiations. After that, said Pavel, a large-scale humanitarian operation could begin.

Pavel said Jordan has convened a conference on humanitarian aid for Gaza for 11 June, and the Czech Republic will participate in some form. “We will already be looking for ways to further help the civilians in Gaza,” he added.

The president said the conference in Jordan should result in the creation of a humanitarian aid system to avoid crossing interests or, on the contrary, areas left uncovered. “Probably the most necessary thing will be some kind of a coordination group that will be able to coordinate all humanitarian activities and organise means of transport,” Pavel said.

According to the Jordanian side, up to 800 trucks a day will be needed to shuttle and deliver aid.

President Pavel on a tour of the ancient Jordanian city of Petra yesterday. Credit: Zuzana Bonisch / hrad.cz.

On Monday, Pavel travelled to Amman with about a tonne of powdered baby milk to Amman, which Jordan will distribute in the Gaza Strip. In a meeting with the King today, the president did not discuss other specific items of aid, he said in response to a question from CTK.

“The material aid we have brought means continuation, because we already previously provided humanitarian aid to Gaza through the World Food Programme,” he said, adding that in Gaza, civilians are mainly short of food, medical supplies or hygiene items.

Israel launched an offensive in Gaza in response to the terrorist attack by Hamas, whose gunmen attacked the Israeli border area on 7 October, killing over 1,100 people and kidnapping around 240. 

The large-scale Israeli attack has so far killed at least 36,000 Palestinians and injured over 80,000, according to the authorities, mostly women and children. In addition, Israel’s almost blanket restrictions of food, water, electricity, and communications in the territory has caused an unprecedented humanitarian crisis and left hundreds of thousands of people without shelter, and at risk of famine and infectious diseases. International human rights and humanitarian organisations have described the ongoing bombardment as the most deadly conflict of the 21st century so far, with 1 in every 100 inhabitants of Gaza dying.

Israeli forces are continuing their offensive in Rafah, where hundreds of thousands of displaced Palestinians are taking shelter, despite an order from the International Court of Justice to stop the fighting. The Czech Republic has been one of Israel’s staunchest allies during the conflict, and was one of only a handful of nations voting with Israel and the United States in the UN General Assembly against a ceasefire or recognition of Palestine as a member state.

President Pavel also spoke with Abdullah II and Crown Prince Hussein about the war in Ukraine.

“From his (the King’s) point of view, of course, this conflict also affects global security and therefore security in the region,” Pavel noted.

They also talked about expanding cooperation in industry, the defence sector, health, energy, the spa industry and the rehabilitation of wounded soldiers. According to Pavel, Jordan considers the Czech Republic to be a close partner, which was reiterated by Jordanian PM Bisher Khasawneh at a meeting with journalists. For the Czech Republic, added Pavel, Jordan is the most stable country in the region and can be counted on as a reliable partner.

The president also met Czech ophthalmologists working on the MEDEVAC medical programme. Credit: Zuzana Bonisch / hrad.cz

Pavel spoke with the Jordanian King on the phone about a month ago, discussing the possible development of the situation in the Middle East and the possibility of humanitarian aid to civilians in Gaza. Abdullah II invited the Czech President to Jordan last autumn.

On Tuesday, he visited two hospitals and met Czech ophthalmologists working in Jordan as part of the MEDEVAC medical programme. The president also went to the Jordan Design and Development Bureau military enterprise.

Brno Daily Subscribe
Sign up for morning news in your mail