I am immeasurably relieved that 24 hostages, including four Germans, have just been released from Gaza. That, after 49 days in the hell of incredible fear, a father can at last embrace his two little daughters and his wife safely in his arms again. We, the German Government, are hugely grateful to all who have helped bring this about, who have moved mountains.
I would like to extend my personal thanks to my Qatari counterpart. We also thank the International Committee of the Red Cross, as well as Egypt.
More than 200 women, men and notably children still remain in the hands of Hamas and others, are still kidnapped. Our thoughts today are with them and also very much with their families.
Much as today is a day of hope, it is by no means a day of complete relief. What is crucial now is that everyone sticks to the agreements made and that further hostages are released in the coming days. And it is vital that the International Committee of the Red Cross gains access to the hostages in order to provide them with medical care. Ensuring the release of all the remaining hostages, particularly the Germans among them, remains our top priority.
At the same time, we see the unimaginable suffering of the people, families, children, men and women in Gaza. The humanitarian pause must be maintained for as long as possible so that essentials such as medicines, foodstuffs, water and supplies can be brought to the people in Gaza. Our humanitarian relief supplies are ready at the border crossing point in Rafah. I am grateful to Israel and Egypt for enabling greater access.