Irish leader urges Biden to work towards a ceasefire in Gaza

During their Oval Office meeting, Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar made it clear to President Joe Biden that one of the top priorities on his agenda was discussing Gaza and the urgent need for a cease-fire.

During his conversation with Biden, Varadkar expressed his perspective on the urgent need for a cease-fire to facilitate the delivery of essential supplies such as food and medicine. Biden, in response, promptly affirmed his agreement with Varadkar’s viewpoint.

According to the Irish prime minister, it is essential to establish a cease-fire in order to ensure the safe release of hostages. Additionally, he emphasized the need for dialogue to facilitate progress towards a two-state solution as the most viable means of achieving long-term peace and security.

Leo Varadkar has been consistently advocating for an immediate cessation of hostilities in Gaza, drawing upon Ireland’s own experience with imperialism and occupation. His stance surpasses that of Biden, who supports a six-week, temporary cease-fire to secure the release of hostages and alleviate the dire humanitarian situation faced by Palestinian civilians.

During his speech, President Biden also addressed the issue of Gaza. He highlighted the collaborative efforts between the United States and Ireland to provide aid to Gaza, emphasizing that there is still much more work to be done in this regard.

The atmosphere in the Oval Office meeting had a different tone compared to the usual lighthearted exchanges of the past, during which Biden often highlighted his strong Irish heritage. However, even amidst the seriousness, Biden, wearing a shamrock tie in anticipation of St. Patrick’s Day, took a moment to share a quote from his Irish grandfather.

“My grandfather, Finnegan, used to always remind me about the importance of maintaining strong friendships. He would say, ‘May the hinge of our friendship never go rusty.’ He had a collection of these sayings, and it was interesting how the Irish in America sometimes embraced their heritage even more passionately than those in Ireland itself. But one thing is for certain, we won’t let the hinge of our friendship go rusty.”

After the meeting, Varadkar described it as “a highly meaningful discussion” during his interaction with the media. Although he refrained from providing detailed information, the prime minister shared that Biden had provided him with a comprehensive update on the ongoing U.S. initiatives to achieve a cease-fire.

In the Oval Office, the president stressed the collective support of both nations for Ukraine. Varadkar expressed his gratitude for America’s guidance in the matter, while also urging for the ongoing provision of aid. He highlighted the need for the $60 billion package, which is currently held up in the House, to be swiftly addressed.

Both Biden and Taoiseach advocated for ongoing support for Ukraine aid, as well as for Israel and Gaza, during the traditional Friends of Ireland lunch with lawmakers on Capitol Hill. This annual event seldom delves into current political matters, making their remarks all the more noteworthy.

“I implore you to promptly send me the national security bill,” expressed Biden. “This bill encompasses vital funding for Ukraine and Israel, as well as potentially life-saving humanitarian aid for Gaza. The people of Gaza are in dire need of assistance, and it is crucial that we provide it. By doing so, we send a powerful message that America staunchly supports freedom and refuses to yield to anyone, anywhere in the world.”

House Speaker Mike Johnson also pointed out the importance of addressing international conflicts.

According to Johnson, our hearts are heavy at this time due to the threats to stability in Europe and the Middle East. Despite the fun fellowship, our allies and friends, including Israel and Taiwan, are still fighting for their right to exist.

On Friday, Vice President Kamala Harris and second gentleman Doug Emhoff carried on the long-standing tradition of hosting Varadkar and his spouse Matthew Barrett for breakfast at the residence. This warm gathering was held in anticipation of the upcoming holiday, which commemorates 100 years of diplomatic relationships between the two nations.

Harris specifically praised Varadkar for his commendable efforts in addressing the situations in Ukraine and Gaza during his time in office. He highlighted Ireland’s role as a leader in providing essential resources like food, water, and medicine to the people of Gaza.

Varadkar praised Harris for her recent display of great courage and leadership in speaking publicly in favor of a cease-fire in Gaza.

During her speech at the 59th commemoration of “Bloody Sunday” in Selma, Alabama, Harris made a strong plea for an immediate, temporary cease-fire. This marked one of the administration’s most powerful public statements on the issue, with Harris highlighting the extensive suffering in Gaza.

Harris and Varadkar also commended each other for their efforts in supporting the LGBTQ community. Harris acknowledged Varadkar’s significant position as an openly LGBTQ leader on the global platform.

Kamala Harris expressed the significance of witnessing Mr. Barrett and you on the global platform, emphasizing the continued journey towards progress.

Leo Varadkar commended President Biden for his endorsement of same-sex marriage in 2012. He recalled the notable “Meet the Press” interview, where Biden surpassed then-President Barack Obama by proclaiming his support.

During Varadkar’s visit, there were concerns about the tensions between Israel and Gaza. However, the event at the residence managed to bring some levity to the situation. In her remarks, Harris lightened the mood by joking that she and Emhoff had decided to make the Taoiseach and Barrett their “new couple friends” after their visit last year. This humorous comment elicited a hearty laugh from the room.

Varadkar acknowledged the challenges that come with assuming the position of deputy prime minister in the government. In a lighthearted manner, he quipped that having served as both deputy prime minister and prime minister, he knew which role he preferred.

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MBS Staff
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