Talks start in Paris to press for long-term Gaza truce

AFP , Saturday 26 Jul 2014

US Secretary of State John Kerry (2nd L) talks on the phone at the US ambassador's residence before he meets with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu (not pictured) in Paris 26 July 2014. (Photo:Reuters)

US Secretary of State John Kerry and other top diplomats from Europe and the Middle East began talks in Paris Saturday to press efforts for a long-term ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.

Kerry met with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and their counterparts from Britain, Germany, Italy, Qatar, Turkey and the European Union as a 12-hour "humanitarian" truce in Gaza entered into force.

More than 900 Palestinians  have died in a 19-day Israeli offensive on Gaza.

Kerry, who has been leading international efforts to reach a truce, failed to secure a deal in Cairo Friday where he met with his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukri and UN chief Ban Ki-moon.

Both Israel and various factions of the Palestinian resistance agreed late on Friday to a 12-hour ceasefire starting Saturday morning.

*This story was edited by Ahram Online

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