Statement by the Mayor of Cambridge at Full Council, 15 February 2024

Firstly, as Mayor I wish to extend my sympathies to all who have suffered or are suffering from terrorism, war and its awful effects, to those who are displaced and seeking a safe refuge.

It is nearly three months since I made a statement at Council about the situation in Israel and the Palestinian Occupied Territories

Since then, the situation has deteriorated. There are increasingly worrying reports about the scale of human suffering and death in Gaza.

I would like to reiterate the call I made three months ago - for an immediate ceasefire and a return of the hostages. More and more Heads of State and Government, and councils around the world are now echoing that call.

I remain concerned about rising tension that could spill over into further bloodshed in the Middle East. But I also remain hopeful. Recent reports have suggested talks about a ceasefire are ‘constructive and moving in right direction’. Can I reiterate that we need world leaders to demonstrate statecraft, to build bridges, champion peace in the Middle East and support a two-State solution. (For all our sakes, they cannot afford to give up on this.)

Furthermore, we must not forget the plight and suffering of all those affected by armed conflict around the world. Whether internally displaced people or refugees fleeing conflict – whether in or from Africa, Asia, South America, or Europe. Last week, I met the Mayor of Melitopol and the Zaporizhia region, Ukraine to build bridges and broker partnerships with our education institutions.

I reiterate that building bridges at all levels is key and as a city of sanctuary, that is known internationally - drawing people from across the world, ethnically and religiously diverse, I want as Mayor and first citizen our residents to feel safe and thrive.