RIGA - Latvian President Edgars Rinkevics on Monday met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on the West Bank and underscored the need to denounce Hamas terrorists.
Rinkevics expressed condolences to Palestinian civilians who are victims of the current situation but at the same time noted the need to condemn the terrorist attacks perpetrated by Hamas militants, as well as stressed the importance of the release of hostages, Rinkevics' communications advisor Martins Dregeris told LETA.
During the meeting, Rinkevics and Abbas discussed ways of preventing a further expansion of violence and humanitarian catastrophe in the region, as well as how to provide assistance to the Palestinians to meet their humanitarian needs. Rinkevics noted the contribution Latvia has made to the UN Refugee Work Agency (UNRWA) in the Middle East and the World Food Program to support Palestinian civilians.
Rinkevics also voiced support for continued efforts to negotiate a political two-state solution and ensure a lasting peace.
He also indicated that as an EU member, Latvia supports a closer political EU-Palestinian dialogue and the conclusion of a full EU-Palestinian association agreement.
As reported, the Latvian president is in Israel on a working visit. He has already met with Israeli President Isaak Herzog, family members of the civilian hostages captured by Hamas militants and Israel-based Latvian nationals.
The Latvian president expressed Latvia's solidarity with the people of Israel and stressed that Latvia stands together with the people of Israel at this difficult time. Israel has the right to self-defense and Latvia supports Israel's fight against terrorism in accordance with humanitarian and international law, Rinkevics said.
As reported earlier, on October 7, Hamas militants massacred more than 1,200 people, most of them civilians, during an unexpected large-scale attack on Israel. A further 240 people, including women, children and elderly people, were taken hostage by terrorists and taken to the Gaza Strip.
Israel responded to the Hamas attack by launching a massive bombardment of the Gaza Strip and later by a ground operation.