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Ireland, Jordan discuss air-dropping aid into Gaza

Air-dropping aid into Gaza was among several issues recently discussed between Ireland and Jordan, the Department of Foreign Affairs has confirmed.

A spokesperson for the department told RTÉ News that “Ireland is open to considering the option of airdrops of humanitarian assistance, and this is among several issues that have been raised in recent contacts at political and official level between Ireland and Jordan”.

However, the spokesperson said that initiatives such as air-dropping aid into Gaza “must not distract from the urgent need to dramatically scale up the level of humanitarian assistance entering Gaza by land”.

“Full, safe and unhindered humanitarian access and massive scale up in humanitarian aid is Ireland’s priority, and is the priority of all humanitarian actors on the ground, and must remain our primary focus,” the department spokesperson added.

On Saturday, the US air-dropped more than 38,000 meals along the Gaza coast in an operation conducted alongside Jordan.

Meanwhile, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said he welcomed US Vice President Kamala Harris’s call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

Mr Varadkar said that her comments on wanting to see a pause in the fighting represents a “slight change” in the US position.

Ms Harris said that, given the “immense scale of suffering” in Gaza, there must be “an immediate ceasefire for at least the next six weeks”.

She called for Israel to do more to significantly increase the flow of aid into the territory.

The Taoiseach said he will raise the issue of Gaza during his trip to Washington

Mr Varadkar will travel to Washington next week as part of the annual visit to meet US President Joe Biden at the White House for St Patrick’s Day.

The Fine Gael leader said he will use the opportunity to put across the Irish public’s feeling about Gaza to Mr Biden.

Mr Varadkar said: “I think the remarks of Vice President Kamala Harris are very welcome.

“She’s calling for a humanitarian ceasefire to be observed by both Israel and Hamas and I think that those represent a slight change in the US position.

“I hope it happens. Of course, I’m going to raise the issue of Gaza and Palestine with President Biden and Vice President Harris when we meet next week.

“I think the Irish people would expect me to put across their feelings and views I am going to do that.

“I really hope though, that I’m going to meet them at the end of next week in the context of there being a ceasefire, because of course that will change the nature of what I need to say.”

“But we’re all hoping and praying that between now and then there will be a ceasefire so that the hostages can be released, so that desperately needed food and medicine can get into Gaza, and so that we could try and work on making any temporary ceasefire a permanent one because that’s what is needed,” he added.

Some opposition politicians have called for the high-profile White House visit to be used to push for a humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza.

Northern Ireland’s SDLP has said that it would boycott the White House events over US military support for Israeli actions in Gaza, but would send a delegation to Washington to “make the case for an end to violence”.

Additional reporting PA

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