Bahrain to Develop Military Cooperation with UK

The Gulf Cooperation Council’s secretary-general Jassim Al-Budaiwi during his participation at Manama Dialogue Conference. (Secretariat General of the Gulf Cooperation Council)
The Gulf Cooperation Council’s secretary-general Jassim Al-Budaiwi during his participation at Manama Dialogue Conference. (Secretariat General of the Gulf Cooperation Council)
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Bahrain to Develop Military Cooperation with UK

The Gulf Cooperation Council’s secretary-general Jassim Al-Budaiwi during his participation at Manama Dialogue Conference. (Secretariat General of the Gulf Cooperation Council)
The Gulf Cooperation Council’s secretary-general Jassim Al-Budaiwi during his participation at Manama Dialogue Conference. (Secretariat General of the Gulf Cooperation Council)

Field Marshal Khalifa bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, Commander-in-Chief of the Bahrain Defense Force (BDF), met Admiral Sir Antony David Radakin, Chief of the UK Defense Staff, and they signed a Declaration of Intent to develop military cooperation between both sides.
Bahrain News Agency reported that the meeting took place on Sunday on the sidelines of the Manama Dialogue Conference.
The Declaration of Intent aims to develop military cooperation between both sides, through the signing of a cooperation agreement that would broaden joint relations.
The commander-in-chief also met lieutenant admiral Robert Bauer, the Chair of the NATO Military Committee, who was on a visit to the country to take part in the Conference, and the accompanying delegation.
Lieutenant-General Abdulla bin Hassan Al Noaimi, Defense Affairs Minister, was present.
Speaking at the Manama Dialogue Conference, the Gulf Cooperation Council’s secretary-general Jassim Al-Budaiwi emphasized the GCC’s role as a trusted global partner in the energy sector.
“Energy security occupies a prominent place in the policies of the GCC countries,” he said.
He criticized misleading narratives that suggest alternative energy sources can completely replace fossil fuels and further highlighted the decades-long reliability of the GCC as an energy partner.
Al-Budaiwi also emphasized the region’s commitment to stabilizing global energy markets.
“The GCC countries recognize the importance of traditional energy supplies in the long term to ensure energy security and affordability, where the council’s members have also adopted renewable energy sources, as evident from their national development plans,” he added.



Saudi Relief Efforts to Help Palestinians in Gaza Continue

Saudi Arabia has continued its relief and humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip. SPA
Saudi Arabia has continued its relief and humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip. SPA
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Saudi Relief Efforts to Help Palestinians in Gaza Continue

Saudi Arabia has continued its relief and humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip. SPA
Saudi Arabia has continued its relief and humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip. SPA

Saudi Arabia, represented by King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief), has continued its relief and humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip to alleviate their suffering.

In implementation of the directives of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, KSrelief on November 2 launched a fundraising campaign through "Sahem" platform for the relief of the Palestinian people in Gaza.

Advisor at the Royal Court and Supervisor General of KSrelief Dr. Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Rabeeah announced a donation of SAR30 million to this campaign by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and SAR20 million by the Crown Prince, while donations from the public totaled SAR544,710,000, and the number of donors participating in the campaign has exceeded one million.

In this context, KSrelief operated an airlift to El Arish International Airport in Egypt, which included 24 relief planes carrying food baskets, shelter bags, tents, blankets, mattresses, winter clothing bags, dried baby formula, dates and medical materials, weighing a total of 573 tons. The center also sent ambulances, including 14 that entered the Palestinian enclave, out of 20 that will arrive in Gaza.

The KSrelief also sent three ships from Jeddah Islamic Port to Port Said Port in Egypt carrying 401 containers, 258 of which contained medical supplies to meet the needs of hospitals there, and 143 stocked with foodstuffs and shelter materials (tents, blankets, mattresses, shelter bags), to be transported to the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip.

Furthermore, KSrelief signed four cooperation agreements with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the World Food Program, with a total value of SAR150 million to provide relief to the Palestinian people in Gaza.

KSrelief signed the agreement with the UNRWA to fund the agency's food, shelter, water, and environmental sanitation activities in the Gaza Strip.

With a total value exceeding SAR56 million, the agreement aims to provide ready-to-eat meals, distribute blankets, mattresses and personal care and hygiene kits, procure medications, provide doctors and nurses in the 97 UNRWA shelters in Gaza, and ensure the physical and mental well-being of the residents and displaced individuals.

The second agreement was signed with the World Food Program (WFP) to support emergency response in providing food to displaced Palestinians in the territory. The aim is to fulfil their food and nutrition needs by distributing meals and food baskets. The agreement was valued at SAR18.75 million.

The third agreement, valued at SAR37.5 million, was signed to support WHO in treating malnutrition and improving health in the Gaza Strip. The objective is to provide life-saving medicines, medical supplies, and support for urgent health interventions. This aid includes strengthening primary and secondary health care programs, treating malnutrition in vulnerable groups and supporting mental health.

The fourth agreement was signed between KSrelief and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in response to an urgent humanitarian appeal for aiding Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Valued at SAR 37.5 million, the agreement primarily focuses on supporting hospitals, providing medical personnel, offering medical care for the wounded and burn victims, supplying intensive care kits and ambulances, ensuring water purification and access to clean drinking water, and raising awareness about the risks of explosive remnants.

These efforts are part of the Kingdom's ongoing humanitarian projects through KSrelief, assisting the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. They affirm the historical role played by the Kingdom in extending support during crises, demonstrating its unwavering commitment to helping those in need.


OIC Vows to Intensify Efforts to Achieve Social Justice, Security for the Disabled

OIC Secretary-General Hissein Brahim Taha (Asharq Al-Awsat)
OIC Secretary-General Hissein Brahim Taha (Asharq Al-Awsat)
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OIC Vows to Intensify Efforts to Achieve Social Justice, Security for the Disabled

OIC Secretary-General Hissein Brahim Taha (Asharq Al-Awsat)
OIC Secretary-General Hissein Brahim Taha (Asharq Al-Awsat)

On the occasion of the International Day of Disabled Persons, Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Secretary-General Hissein Brahim Taha called on member states, pertinent OIC institutions and international organizations to intensify efforts to achieve social justice, according to a press release by OIC.

The event, observed every year, since 1992, on December 3 pursuant to a UN resolution, aims to raise awareness about these issues facing disabled persons and the need to intensify efforts to integrate them in the society, SPA reported.

Efforts to that end entail implementing resolutions, policies and programs to support disabled individuals and conducting awareness-raising activities to facilitate their integration into their communities.

Taha also emphasized the difficult humanitarian situation experienced by the Palestinian people, "arising from the killing of innocent children, women, elderly, disabled, and youth, and also repression, violence, destruction of health, cultural, sport and services infrastructure", focusing particularly on the difficulties experienced by disabled individuals.

According to the release, the OIC ministerial conference on social development, held in Egypt in June 2023, adopted resolutions in support of disabled individuals.

These resolutions encourage member states to share experiences and best practices regarding the integration and rehabilitation of disabled persons within their respective nations.


KSrelief Continues Delivering Humanitarian Aid in Yemen, Lebanon

KSrelief efforts form a vital part of the Kingdom's humanitarian projects - SPA
KSrelief efforts form a vital part of the Kingdom's humanitarian projects - SPA
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KSrelief Continues Delivering Humanitarian Aid in Yemen, Lebanon

KSrelief efforts form a vital part of the Kingdom's humanitarian projects - SPA
KSrelief efforts form a vital part of the Kingdom's humanitarian projects - SPA

The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief) continued to support the operation of aid projects by the Prosthetic and Rehabilitation Center in Yemen's Hadhramaut Governorate to deliver medical services to hundreds of beneficiaries from Yemen who had lost limbs during September.

Throughout the project, a total of 1,380 services were rendered, with 60% provided to males and 40% to females. Among these, 17% were displaced individuals, while 83% were residents. Notably, 14 patients received comprehensive care, including the manufacturing, installation, and rehabilitation of prosthetic limbs, encompassing delivery, measurements, and maintenance.

Moreover, the initiative extended physical therapy services, comprising sessions and specialized consultations, which benefitted 348 patients.

With the support of KSrelief, Al-Jadah Health Center clinics in Midi district in the Yemeni governorate of Hajjah also provided treatment services to 1,980 beneficiaries during the period from November 1 to 7, 2023.
The emergency clinic reviewed 1,064 patients, the internal medicine clinic had 245 beneficiaries, the pediatric clinic attended to 386 children, the infectious diseases clinic treated 85 patients, the women's and maternity clinic had 178 cases, and the obstetrics department handled 22 cases, SPA reported.

Meanwhile in Lebanon, the Riyadh-based center continued implementing the Al-Amal Charitable Bakery project in the fourth stage for 2023 in Akkar Governorate and Miniyeh District in Lebanon.
The project distributed 150,000 bundles of bread to Syrian and Palestinian refugee families and the host community in northern Lebanon, benefiting 125,000 individuals.
These projects come within the efforts made by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, through KSrelief, to improve the living conditions of people in need in various locations.


GCC’s 158th Ministerial Meeting to be Held in Qatar on Monday

The Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Jassem Mohamed Albudaiwi
The Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Jassem Mohamed Albudaiwi
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GCC’s 158th Ministerial Meeting to be Held in Qatar on Monday

The Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Jassem Mohamed Albudaiwi
The Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Jassem Mohamed Albudaiwi

The Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Jassem Mohamed Albudaiwi, has confirmed the convening of the 158th Ministerial Meeting in Qatar on Monday.

This gathering serves as preparation for the 44th session of the Supreme Council of the GCC, slated to take place in the Qatari capital, Doha.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, Qatari Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, holds the chairmanship for this current session, with the participation of the GCC Ministers of Foreign Affairs.

Albudaiwi clarified that the GCC ministerial meeting will discuss various reports, including the implementation status of decisions issued by the Supreme Council of the GCC during the 43rd summit in Riyadh, as well as memoranda and reports presented by ministerial and technical committees along with the General Secretariat.

The meeting's agenda extends to topics concerning dialogues and strategic relations between the GCC nations and other countries and blocs. Furthermore, it will address the latest developments in the region and the world.


KSrelief Sends Third Saudi Relief Ship to Palestinian People in Gaza

 Palestinians flee from east to west of Khan Younis, Gaza Strip, during the ongoing Israeli bombardment, Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023. (AP)
Palestinians flee from east to west of Khan Younis, Gaza Strip, during the ongoing Israeli bombardment, Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023. (AP)
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KSrelief Sends Third Saudi Relief Ship to Palestinian People in Gaza

 Palestinians flee from east to west of Khan Younis, Gaza Strip, during the ongoing Israeli bombardment, Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023. (AP)
Palestinians flee from east to west of Khan Younis, Gaza Strip, during the ongoing Israeli bombardment, Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023. (AP)

The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief) dispatched its third Saudi relief ship from the Jeddah Islamic Port on Saturday as part of the Saudi Sea Bridge initiative to deliver aid to the people of Gaza.

The vessel is currently heading to Port Said in Egypt, transporting 300 sizable containers with a total weight of 1,246 tons. Two hundred containers are holding vital medical supplies earmarked for Gaza's hospitals, while the remaining 100 are stocked with essential food items, powdered infant formula, and materials for shelter. The provisions are aimed at aiding the distressed Palestinian population in the Gaza Strip.

The humanitarian aid stands as a symbol of Saudi Arabia's steadfast dedication to assisting the Palestinian people during periods of crisis.


France’s Macron Says He Is Going to Qatar to Work on New Gaza Truce

France's President Emmanuel Macron speaks during a press conference at the COP28 United Nations climate summit in Dubai on December 2, 2023. (AFP)
France's President Emmanuel Macron speaks during a press conference at the COP28 United Nations climate summit in Dubai on December 2, 2023. (AFP)
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France’s Macron Says He Is Going to Qatar to Work on New Gaza Truce

France's President Emmanuel Macron speaks during a press conference at the COP28 United Nations climate summit in Dubai on December 2, 2023. (AFP)
France's President Emmanuel Macron speaks during a press conference at the COP28 United Nations climate summit in Dubai on December 2, 2023. (AFP)

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Saturday that France was "very concerned" by the resumption of violence in Gaza and that he was heading to Qatar to help in efforts to kickstart a new truce ahead of a ceasefire.

Macron also told a press conference at the COP28 climate summit in Dubai that the situation required the doubling down on efforts to obtain a lasting ceasefire and the freeing of all hostages.

A temporary truce between Israel and Hamas collapsed on Friday after mediators were unable to extend the pause. Israel and Hamas have traded blame over the collapse.

Macron also urged Israel to clarify its goals towards Hamas.

"We are at a moment when Israeli authorities must more precisely define their objectives and their final goal: the total destruction of Hamas, does anyone think it is possible? If this is the case, the war will last 10 years," he said.

"There is no lasting security for Israel in the region if its security is achieved at the cost of Palestinian lives and thus of the resentment of public opinions in the region. Let's be collectively lucid," Macron added

Asked for a response to that remark, Mark Regev, a senior adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, told reporters Israel does not want to see Gaza civilians caught in the crossfire as battles resume.

"Israel is targeting Hamas, a brutal terrorist organization that has committed the most horrific violence against innocent civilians. Israel is making a maximum effort to safeguard Gaza's civilians," said Regev.


Morocco's King Congratulates King Salman on Riyadh’s Win in Hosting Expo 2030

A light display created using drones is performed after Riyadh won the right to host the 2030 World Expo at King Abdullah Financial District in Riyadh, on November 28, 2023. (AFP)
A light display created using drones is performed after Riyadh won the right to host the 2030 World Expo at King Abdullah Financial District in Riyadh, on November 28, 2023. (AFP)
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Morocco's King Congratulates King Salman on Riyadh’s Win in Hosting Expo 2030

A light display created using drones is performed after Riyadh won the right to host the 2030 World Expo at King Abdullah Financial District in Riyadh, on November 28, 2023. (AFP)
A light display created using drones is performed after Riyadh won the right to host the 2030 World Expo at King Abdullah Financial District in Riyadh, on November 28, 2023. (AFP)

Morocco’s King Mohammed VI congratulated on Friday Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz on Riyadh’s win in hosting the World Expo 2030.

In a cable to King Salman, he underscored the great confidence the world has shown in Saudi Arabia in hosting the global event.

This reflects its recognition of its distinguished standing in the region and world and the accomplishments it has achieved under its wise leadership, he added.

He stressed that Morocco was ready to offer its full support to contribute with Saudi Arabia in ensuring the success of the landmark economic and trade event, which will be an opportunity to introduce the world to Saudi culture, he said.


OIC Strongly Condemns Resumption of Israeli Aggression on Gaza Strip

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC)
The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC)
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OIC Strongly Condemns Resumption of Israeli Aggression on Gaza Strip

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC)
The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC)

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has strongly condemned the Israeli occupation's resumption of its brutal military aggression against the Gaza Strip, saying it embodies an ongoing war crime that deserves accountability and punishment, SPA said on Saturday.
The organization called on the international community, namely the UN Security Council, to assume its responsibilities towards imposing a ceasefire that would put an end to these continuing Israeli crimes that led to the death and injury of more than ten thousand innocent people, primarily women and children, in flagrant violation of international humanitarian law.
The OIC stressed the need to adequately and sustainably deliver humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip and to ensure that Israel, the occupying power, respects its responsibilities under international law.


World Bank, UAE Lead Climate Financing Boost at COP28

COP28 president Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber speaks during the Transforming Food Systems in the Face of Climate Change event on the sidelines of the COP28 climate summit at Dubai Expo on December 1, 2023. (AFP)
COP28 president Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber speaks during the Transforming Food Systems in the Face of Climate Change event on the sidelines of the COP28 climate summit at Dubai Expo on December 1, 2023. (AFP)
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World Bank, UAE Lead Climate Financing Boost at COP28

COP28 president Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber speaks during the Transforming Food Systems in the Face of Climate Change event on the sidelines of the COP28 climate summit at Dubai Expo on December 1, 2023. (AFP)
COP28 president Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber speaks during the Transforming Food Systems in the Face of Climate Change event on the sidelines of the COP28 climate summit at Dubai Expo on December 1, 2023. (AFP)

Governments, development banks and companies announced on Friday initiatives to mobilize billions in climate cash at the COP28 summit where the UAE has made increasing financing central to its leadership of the UN talks.

So far the world has barely begun to deliver the vast amounts of money needed to help the world pay for the transition away from fossil fuels and deal with the impact of climate change.

Developing countries will need an estimated $2.4 trillion in annual climate finance by 2030, the Climate Policy Initiative non-profit organization said.

To try to end years of deadlock on the financing issue, COP28 summit host the United Arab Emirates said it would invest $30 billion in a new climate investment venture.

Named ALTÉRRA, it will aim to mobilize $250 billion in investment by the end of the decade, in what COP28 President Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber described as a "defining moment" for climate finance.

Calling it "the world's largest private investment vehicle for climate change action," Al Jaber said it included $5 billion to be allocated to poorer countries.

BANK ROLL

The World Bank stepped up with a promise to increase the amount it spends annually on climate-related projects to 45% of its financing over 2024 to 2025, up from 35% now, as part of a policy overhaul to better respond to climate change.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also backed the broader effort to reform the world's multilateral development bank system to "leverage far more private finance at reasonable costs."

Average annual climate finance hit almost $1.3 trillion in 2021-22, but only around $30 billion – just 2% - went to developing countries, a November report by the Climate Policy Initiative said.

Another report released Friday by the Independent High-Level Expert Group on Climate Finance also said investment was too little and too much of that "is still misdirected".

Emerging market and developing countries were being "left behind on clean energy," it said.

To help channel support to emerging market financial firms, the World Bank and other multilateral lenders including the International Monetary Fund launched the Global Capacity Building Coalition on Friday.

Also to try to ensure climate funding is not wasted on spurious projects, the World Bank on Friday announced a plan to expand the growth of "high-integrity global carbon markets," helping five countries in 2024 to develop robust offset credits that they can sell into the market.

PLEDGE'S FROM WORLD'S WEALTHIEST

To help support smallholder farmers in Africa and South Africa who face severe consequences from global warming, the Gates Foundation, the charitable foundation of Microsoft founder Bill Gates, and the UAE together committed $200 million.

In a first for blended finance, bringing together public and private lenders, leading climate-focused donors including the Bezos Earth Fund joined forces to launch the Allied Climate Partners investing platform. The aim is to generate $11 billion in investments in developing countries.

The transition to electric vehicles also drew impetus as Tata Motors said it would work with affiliated banks under the Climate Finance Leadership Initiative India (CFLI India) to boost sales.

Part of broader coalition of Indian and international companies, CFLI plans to mobilize more than $6.5 billion into sectors including e-mobility, green hydrogen, and renewables.

FINANCING A SHIPPING TRANSITION?

Decarbonizing shipping and how to finance it also came into focus at Friday's talks.

Some of the world's biggest container shipping lines set out commitments on how to decarbonize shipping, after a global deal reached in July was criticized for lacking substance.

Countries through the UN's International Maritime Organization (IMO) to aim for net-zero shipping emissions by around 2050, but they failed to reach consensus on issues such as a carbon levy.

In a declaration on Friday, shipping lines CMA CGM, Hapag Lloyd, Maersk and MSC, and backed by France, Denmark and South Korea called for a global marine fuel emissions intensity standard. They also sought a pricing mechanism to reduce the price gap between fossil fuels and alternative fuels for shipping.

The companies also pledged to aim for one or more of the highest targets in the IMO deal en route to net zero - including a 30% emissions reduction by 2030 and an 80% decrease by 2040 - and called for a firm date to end the construction of vessels based on fossil fuel.

"By collaborating with others, we each take a new step in our energy transition, while ensuring a collective level playing field and access to greener fuels for the industry," CMA CGM's Chairman and CEO Rodolphe Saade said.

Shipping transports around 90% of world trade and accounts for nearly 3% of global carbon dioxide emissions.


Erdogan Meets UAE President, Says Israel Restarting Attacks on Gaza Is ‘Very Negative’

A handout photo made available by Turkish Presidential Press office shows Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) and President of the United Arab Emirates Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan during their meeting at the UN Climate Change Conference COP28, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 01 December 2023. (Turkish Presidential Press Office /Handout/EPA)
A handout photo made available by Turkish Presidential Press office shows Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) and President of the United Arab Emirates Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan during their meeting at the UN Climate Change Conference COP28, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 01 December 2023. (Turkish Presidential Press Office /Handout/EPA)
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Erdogan Meets UAE President, Says Israel Restarting Attacks on Gaza Is ‘Very Negative’

A handout photo made available by Turkish Presidential Press office shows Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) and President of the United Arab Emirates Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan during their meeting at the UN Climate Change Conference COP28, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 01 December 2023. (Turkish Presidential Press Office /Handout/EPA)
A handout photo made available by Turkish Presidential Press office shows Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) and President of the United Arab Emirates Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan during their meeting at the UN Climate Change Conference COP28, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 01 December 2023. (Turkish Presidential Press Office /Handout/EPA)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told his Emirati counterpart Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan that Israel restarting its attacks on Gaza after the collapse of a week-long truce was "very negative", his office said on Friday.

The Turkish and Emirati leaders met on the sidelines of the COP28 summit in Dubai. Erdogan also met the prime ministers of Japan and Italy to discuss Gaza, as well as with his counterpart from Uzbekistan, the presidency said.

"President Erdogan, who noted that the restarting of clashes was very negative, said Turkey was working to achieve a lasting ceasefire and for humanitarian aid to reach Gaza," it said in a statement, adding Erdogan also said Türkiye was doing its best to stop Israel's "massacre".