No alternative to Egypt's Gaza ceasefire initiative: El-Sisi

Ahram Online, Saturday 2 Aug 2014

Egyptian president says that bloodshed could have been avoided if Egyptian initiative had been implemented sooner

El -Sisi
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, center, escorts Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, right, to a joint press conference, in the presidential palace, Cairo Egypt, Saturday, Aug. 2, 2014. (AP Photo)

Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said on Saturday that there is "no alternative" to the Egyptian-brokered ceasefire talks to curb the violence in Gaza.

El-Sisi, in a joint press conference in Cairo with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, said that had the Egyptian initiative been applied "we would have saved a lot of bloodshed and victims."

The Italian premier landed in Cairo early  on Saturday to discuss bilateral relations between the two countries as well as regional issues, on top of which is the Israeli military assault on the Gaza Strip.

According to El-Sisi, Renzi has endorsed the Egyptian initiative.

Over 1,450 Palestinians have died since the violence started on 8 July, while around 5,000 homes have been destroyed and around a quarter of a million civilians displaced.

El-Sisi also said that Egypt had launched its ceasefire initiative before the Israeli ground invasion in Gaza, and the resulting increase in the victims.

Initially confined to airstrikes, the Israeli army sent ground troops into the territory on 17 July, dramatically increasing the number of Palestinian casualties.

El-Sisi affirmed that the Egyptian ceasefire initiative is still ongoing and capable of solving the crisis.

There were initial reports that the planned talks had fallen apart yesterday after a three-day humanitarian truce in the territory collapsed, with Israel claiming that Palestinian factions had kidnapped an Israeli soldier. The Egyptian foreign ministry however said that the talks were unaffected and would go ahead on Saturday.  

El-Sisi also touched on Egyptian domestic affairs, saying that before the end of this year, Egypt will have a parliament.

He also said that Egypt would regain its power and position in the region. He compared Egypt’s “very good” security situation to that of neighbouring Libya, and urged international efforts to address terrorism in the region.


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