World leaders including Biden, Sunak and Macron call for ‘immediate release’ of hostages

In a rare joint statement, leaders from the UK, US, France, Thailand and more urge Hamas to ‘let us end this crisis’


President Joe Biden joins 17 other world leaders in calling for the 'immediate release' of the hostages from Hamas captivity in a joint statement issued on 25 April, 2024. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

US President Joe Biden and 17 other world leaders issued a joint statement on Thursday calling for the “immediate release” of the hostages taken by Hamas more than 200 days ago.

The statement, released simultaneously by leaders of the UK, US, Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Spain and Thailand stated that the remaining hostages “include our own citizens.”

“The fate of the hostages and the civilian population in Gaza, who are protected under international law, is of international concern,” the leaders wrote.

“We emphasise that the deal on the table to release the hostages would bring an immediate and prolonged ceasefire in Gaza, that would facilitate a surge of additional necessary humanitarian assistance to be delivered throughout Gaza, and lead to the credible end of hostilities.

“Gazans would be able to return to their homes and their lands with preparations beforehand to ensure shelter and humanitarian provisions,” the statement said.

It added: “We strongly support the ongoing mediation efforts in order to bring our people home. We reiterate our call on Hamas to release the hostages and let us end this crisis so that collectively we can focus our efforts on bringing peace and stability to the region.”

A senior Biden administration official who briefed reporters on the announcement called the collection of participating world leaders “quite extraordinary” and said that they were able to agree unanimously on the wording of the statement “largely because of the current situation with the hostages.”

The joint statement comes just a day after Hamas released a proof-of-life video of Israeli-American hostage Hersh Goldberg-Polin, 23, who was kidnapped from the Nova music festival on October 7 and reportedly lost his left arm during the surprise attack. Though it is unclear exactly when the video was made, Goldberg-Polin says in the clip that he has been held captive for “nearly 200 days,” suggesting the footage was taken recently.

In the clip, taken under duress and posted on Hamas’ Telegram account on Wednesday, Goldberg-Polin criticised Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s handling of the Gaza offensive as well as negotiations for the hostages’ release.

“You should be ashamed because all the deals that were offered to you were rejected,” he said to the camera. “Don’t you want to end this nightmare?”

Weeks of negotiations between Israel and Hamas, mediated by the US, Egypt and Qatar, have failed to produce a resolution for the ongoing conflict. Hamas rejected the latest proposal which included a six-week ceasefire in exchange for the release of 40 of the remaining 133 hostages, at least 30 of whom have been reported dead.

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