The Gulf State of Qatar was responsible for seeing four hostages released by Hamas and has significant influence in the talks around releasing hostages.
Qatar’s Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said yesterday that only “very minor obstacles” remain in the way to conclude the deal.
The Sheikh told Mr Varadkar in a phone call this afternoon that children will be a priority and said they are “aware” of Emily Hand, a nine-year-old Irish girl, as being among the hostages.
“Taoiseach Leo Varadkar spoke today with the Prime Minister of Qatar, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani, regarding the case of Emily Hand,” said a spokesperson for the Taoiseach.
“Mr Al Thani said they are aware of the case and said that children will be a priority in any negotiated release.”
Around 240 hostages were taken by Hamas terrorists during a massacre in southern Israel on 7 October.
Four hostages were released several weeks ago.
Mr Varadkar met Emily Hand’s family and the Israeli Ambassador to Ireland, Dana Erlich, last week.
The spokesperson said the Taoiseach “pledged that he would use all channels of communication to pursue Emily’s release.
“Last week he spoke to the International Committee of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, having previously raised her case with the Palestinian Prime Minister, the Egyptian Foreign Minister and Prince Rashid of Jordan.”