Macron says aid to poor countries can check spread of conflict
November 10, 2023 06:06 PM
International financial aid can help worse-off countries avoid being dragged into conflict such as that in Gaza, French President Emmanuel Macron said on Friday at an international summit.
"Everything is connected," Macron told delegates at the annual Paris Peace Forum in the French capital.
"Today, there are very vulnerable countries who, if we don't help them with international solidarity, will be dragged into the ongoing conflict," he added, in reference to the war between Israel and Palestinian militant group Hamas.
Macron hailed the International Monetary Fund's aid to Jordan and Egypt as "absolutely decisive" in limiting the spread of the confrontation.
The IMF on Thursday announced $1.2 billion in aid for Israel's neighbour Jordan, which lacks natural resources of its own and relies on foreign assistance.
It is concerned about a possible new inrush of Palestinian refugees, adding to the hundreds of thousands already on its territory.
IMF managing director Kristalina Georgieva said on Friday the Washington-based body could also do "more" to support Egypt, also dealing with fallout from the conflict.
This year's Peace Forum opened against a backdrop of proliferating conflict around the world.
Most acute is the month of fighting between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
Since Hamas attacks in southern Israel on October 7 -- in which Israel says 1,400 people were killed and 240 taken hostage -- Israel has bombarded Gaza relentlessly and sent in ground troops.
The Palestinian territory's Hamas-run health ministry says more than 10,800 people have been killed in Gaza, many of them children.
Pope Francis, who did not attend the Peace Forum, sent the summit a "message of encouragement, in hope that this meeting... can contribute to building a fairer, more united and peaceful world".
"Building peace is slow and patient work, requiring courage and commitment," the pontiff added.
"While reaffirming the inalienable right to legitimate self-defence and the responsibility to protect those whose existence is threatened, we owe it to ourselves to admit that war is always a defeat for humanity," Francis wrote.