International ministerial meeting in Oslo on the war in Gaza

‘This meeting in Oslo has taken place against an extremely serious and dramatic backdrop. Tomorrow, it will be 10 weeks since Hamas’s horrific terrorist attack. Close to 19 000 people have been killed in Gaza, nearly half of them children. The scale of destruction is enormous. More than 100 hostages are still being held in Gaza. At the meeting today, there was broad agreement on the gravity of the situation and the need for peace,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Espen Barth Eide.

Today, Foreign Minister Eide hosted a high-level meeting on the crisis in Gaza. The meeting was organised in response to a request from the Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs, who heads a Ministerial Committee appointed by the Joint Arab-Islamic Extraordinary Summit in Riyadh on 11 November. In addition to the Qatari Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and the foreign ministers of Jordan, Palestine, Saudi Arabia and Türkiye, the foreign ministers of Denmark, Iceland, Sweden, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg took part. Finland was represented at state secretary level. The Secretary-General of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation also attended the meeting.

Ministermøte om Gaza i Oslo 15. desember 2023
Credit: Killian Munch

‘The war in Gaza is a catastrophe for the Palestinian people. It is also an extremely serious situation for Israel, affecting its relations with neighbouring countries and internationally. The war is making the world less safe for all of us. The participants at the meeting today agreed that we must do everything we can to stop the war and prevent escalation in the Middle East,’ Mr Eide said.

The need to strengthen the Palestinian Authority and to renew international cooperation aimed at realising a two-state solution were also discussed at the meeting.

‘The war between Israel and Hamas and the policies of the Israeli authorities are weakening the Palestinian Authority and creating instability in the West Bank as well. My colleagues and I agreed that we cannot risk the collapse of the Palestinian Authority, which has an essential role to play, both as a governing body for the Palestinian people and in the work to establish a Palestinian state. This terrible war has reminded us that there is no viable alternative to a peace process and a two-state solution. We cannot allow there to be another 30 years of occupation, war and unresolved conflict,’ Mr Eide said.

Norway has increased its support to Palestine by close to NOK 800 million since the war started. In addition to strengthening the Palestinian Authority’s ability to deliver critical services to the population, the funding provided by Norway will largely be used to meet the enormous need for emergency aid that has arisen as a result of the war. The funding is being channelled primarily through the UN, the World Bank, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, and Norwegian humanitarian organisations operating in Gaza. Norway will provide a total of NOK 1.75 billion in support to Palestine in 2023.

The meeting was held at the Government Guest House at Parkveien 45, in the very room where representatives of Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) signed the first Oslo Accord 30 years ago.