France endorses Egypt's Gaza truce bid

Ahram Online , Wednesday 16 Jul 2014

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius says his country backs Egypt's Gaza ceasefire initiative in a phone call with his Egyptian counterpart on Tuesday, urges all sides to respond to put an end to the bloodshed

French Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Fabius
French Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Fabius attends a news conference with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry at the Quai d'Orsay Foreign Ministry after their meeting in Paris September 7, 2013 (Photo: Reuters)

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius on Tuesday announced his "full backing" for an Egyptian initiative to broker a ceasefire in Gaza, the Foreign Ministry said, as hostilities between Israel and Islamist group Hamas have killed more than 200 in the Palestinian territory.

Fabius said he had spoken on Tuesday with his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry to discuss Egypt's bid for a truce, calling on both sides to swiftly adhere to the initiative to end the bloodshed.

"This positive initiative has been accepted by the Israeli government but rejected until now by Hamas," the Foreign Minister said in a statement.

Early Tuesday, Israel's security cabinet said it would accept an Egyptian proposal for a ceasefire to begin at 0600 GMT.

But Hamas officials said they had not been consulted on the proposal and would not halt fire without a full-fledged deal including Israeli concessions.

At 1200 GMT, the Israeli army announced it was resuming air strikes, after militants fired dozens of rockets from Gaza, killing an Israeli for the first time.

The fresh raids hit Gaza City, southern Khan Yunis, Rafah and central Johr Al-Deeq on Tuesday and early Wednesday, raising the death toll in nine days of violence to 200, medics said.

The senior French diplomat said France was "calling on all parties" to put the ceasefire into effect without delay.

"All efforts must converge to put a stop to the violence and assure the protection of civilian populations," Fabius added.

The "legitimate" security needs of Israel and the "humanitarian and economic needs" of the Palestinians must be addressed in order to reach a permanent truce, he added in the statement, urging the Palestinian Authority to be "closely involved" in the process to end the fighting.


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