© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi attends a family photo session with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, Jordanian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi, the Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, Indonesia
ANKARA (Reuters) – A newly formed group of senior officials from several Muslim countries will visit the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and others to press for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, a Turkish Foreign Ministry source said on Tuesday.
The group was formed earlier this month at a summit of the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Riyadh. It includes foreign ministers and representatives from Turkey, Qatar, Egypt, Jordan, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and the Palestinian Authority, as well as the OIC Secretary General .
The source said the group began discussions with the permanent members of the UN Security Council – the United States, China, Russia, Britain and France – during a visit to Beijing Monday, and that he would also visit other countries.
“The main objective of the contact group is for a ceasefire to be announced as quickly as possible and for humanitarian aid to be sent to Gaza,” the source said.
“As an end goal, (the group) aims to contribute to the two-state solution within internationally accepted parameters, for Palestinians to live in their own country in security, with stability and prosperity,” said the person.
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, based outside Gaza, told Reuters on Tuesday that the Palestinian militant group was close to reaching a truce deal with Israel, even as Israel’s deadly attack on Gaza continues. continued and rockets were fired at Israel.
Hamas’ attack on Israel on October 7, the deadliest in Israel’s 75-year history, triggered an Israeli airstrike and invasion of Gaza. The campaign has killed at least 13,000 Palestinians, including many children and women, and led to calls for a ceasefire or humanitarian truce.
Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan did not participate in the Beijing leg of the tour and will also miss the group’s trip to Moscow on Tuesday while President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is visiting Algeria, the ministry source said Turkish Foreign Affairs.
Fidan said on Monday that he would participate in the next stages of the tour. He told Al Jazeera this weekend that Muslim countries had, for now, decided to use “all diplomatic and humanitarian means” available to end the fighting in Gaza. He said Israeli attacks on the enclave must be stopped at the UN and other platforms through the efforts of like-minded countries.
The group will meet British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday during visits to Britain and France, the source said.
Separately, a group of 87 Turks, Turkish Cypriots and their relatives arrived in Turkey on Tuesday, after being evacuated from Gaza to Egypt, Turkish media reported. The Foreign Ministry source said Ankara intended to evacuate another 100 people from Gaza on Tuesday, if conditions on the ground permit.
On Monday, nearly 200 evacuees from Gaza, including patients in need of medical care and their companions, arrived in Turkey.