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Varadkar speaking to reporters outside the White House in Washington D.C. today. Alamy Stock Photo
zak hania

Taoiseach speaks to President Biden on six Irish citizens who are stuck in Gaza

Six Irish citizens are currently still stuck in Gaza, their families have pleaded with the State for help.

THE SIX IRISH citizens who still remain Gaza is one of the issues which was raised by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar during his conversation with US President Joe Biden this afternoon.

Over the last number of weeks, concerns have been mounting over the provision and access to aid in Gaza after reports that trucks set to deliver vital medical and humanitarian supplies were being blocked at the border.

Six Irish citizens are currently still stuck in Gaza and their families are pleading with the State to assist with efforts to grant them safe passage out of the region. Among the citizens is Zak Hania, whose wife has pleaded for help with evacuation efforts this week.

This week Varadkar told reporters in Boston that he will discuss Zak’s case with Biden, during their conversation today, if there was enough time to. After the meeting between the leaders today, Varadkar said he had indeed discussed the issue with the US President.

The Taoiseach said he discussed the six Irish citizens and other dependents who remain in Gaza but reminded journalists that it’s “largely a matter” to discuss with Israeli and Egyptian officials.

The Irish Government’s previous efforts to evacuate citizens were carried out through the State’s main contacts in the region, Egyptian and Israeli officials.

But the Taoiseach hinted this week that the task might not be as straightforward as before now that Qatar has now carved itself out a large amount of influence in the negotiations in the conflict, whom the State has not dealt with to date.

During the conversation, Biden told Varadkar that the US is “very clear” that it will continue to support Israel “to defend itself”, according to the Taoiseach.

“But I think, as I said earlier, none of us like to see the weapons being used the way they are now. There’s a difference between self defence and what’s happening now. And that’s why we should move towards a ceasefire.”

Earlier, Biden said he agreed with Varadkar that a ceasefire and two-state solution are necessary to achieve peace in Gaza as the two leaders met in the Oval Office.

Political Editor Christina Finn will be in the US throughout the week for the Taoiseach’s visit. Follow @thejournal_ie and @christinafinn8 for all the latest.

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Muiris O'Cearbhaill & Christina Finn