End Gaza war to stop Houthi attacks: Qatari PM at Davos

DAVOS: Military strikes will not contain attacks by Yemen’s Houthis on commercial shipping lanes in the Red Sea, but an end to the war in Gaza will, Qatar’s prime minister said on Tuesday (Jan 16) during the World Economic Forum (WEF) meeting in Davos.

Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman Al Thani described the current regional situation as a “recipe for escalation everywhere” and said Qatar believes that defusing the conflict in Gaza will stop the escalation on other fronts.

“We need to address the central issue, which is Gaza in order to get everything else defused … if we are just focusing on the symptoms and not treating the real issues, (solutions) will be temporary,” he said.

Conflict has spread to parts of Middle East since the war between Israel and Palestinian group Hamas began on Oct 7, with groups allied to Iran carrying out attacks in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi group has since November been attacking vessels in the Red Sea, part of a route that accounts for about 12 per cent of the world’s shipping traffic, in what they say is an effort to support Palestinians in the war with Israel.

US and British forces have responded by carrying out dozens of air and sea strikes on Houthi targets in Yemen since Friday.

Sheikh Mohammed said US and British attacks create “a high risk of further escalation and further expansion of” the conflict.

“We always prefer diplomacy over any military resolutions,” he said.

Without a viable, sustainable two-state solution in Israel and Palestine, the international community will be unwilling to finance the reconstruction of Gaza, Sheikh Mohammed said.

“The bigger picture cannot be ignored,” he said, urging the international community to require Israel to agree to a time-bound, irreversible pathway to a two-state solution.

“We cannot leave this just at the hand of the Israelis,” he said.

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