'First good news': World welcomes Gaza truce deal

AFP , Wednesday 22 Nov 2023

Nations around the globe welcomed on Wednesday the announcement that Israel and Hamas reached a deal to free captives and pause ferocious fighting and bombardment in Gaza.

Palestinians search for survivors of the Israeli bombing in Rafah, Gaza Strip, Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2023. AP


Here are some key reactions to the agreement:

Important step in right direction

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres "welcomes the agreement reached by Israel and Hamas, with the mediation of Qatar supported by Egypt and the United States," a spokesman for the UN chief said in a statement.

"This is an important step in the right direction, but much more needs to be done."

Guterres said the UN would provide support for the implementation of the agreement.

Good deal, but not enough

The World Health Organization (WHO) also welcomed the deal, but the UN health agency's chief said it would not end civilian suffering.

"We welcome the announcement of the Israel-Hamas agreement for 50 Israeli captives to be released," WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on X, formerly Twitter.

"My thoughts are with the families, some of whom my WHO colleagues and I met with in recent weeks. We also welcome the four-day pause in fighting that will allow more aid to be safely delivered into Gaza."

But he added that "this is not enough to end the suffering of civilians" and "that those still in captivity must receive any needed medical care".

"We continue to call for all captives to be released. We also continue to call for a ceasefire so that civilians in Gaza can receive sustained, safe, and scaled-up support for recovery.

A positive development

The Turkish foreign ministry said the deal, brokered with Qatar and Egypt's help, was "a positive development in terms of easing the bloodshed to some extent".

"We hope that this humanitarian pause will help to completely end the war as soon as possible and initiate a process towards a just and lasting peace on the basis of a two-state solution," the ministry said.

It urged "full compliance with the agreement", adding that it should lead to an "increase in the amount of humanitarian aid allowed to enter Gaza"

 'Sustainable solutions'

Egypt's President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi welcomed the deal and noted "the continuation of the Egyptian efforts to reach final and sustainable solutions... to guarantee the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people."

'Serious peace talks'

Qatar’s prime minister and top diplomat, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, said he hoped the deal would eventually lead to a permanent cease-fire and “serious talks” on resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

'Cessation of aggression'

The Palestinian Authority welcomed the humanitarian truce agreement, valued the Qatari-Egyptian effort made and reaffirmed the call for a comprehensive cessation of the Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people and the entry of humanitarian aid," senior official Hussein al-Sheikh wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

 'Extraordinarily gratified 

US President Joe Biden thanked the leaders of Qatar and Egypt for their "critical leadership" in reaching the deal.

"I am extraordinarily gratified that some of these brave souls... will be reunited with their families once this deal is fully implemented," Biden said, referring to the captives.

 'Crucial step' 

British Foreign Secretary David Cameron called the deal a "crucial step towards providing relief to the families of the captives and addressing the humanitarian crisis in Gaza."

 'Vital aid' 

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said the "breakthrough" agreement "must be used to bring vital aid to people in Gaza."

 'De-escalate conflict' 

Beijing hoped "that it will help ease the plight of the humanitarian crisis, de-escalate the conflict and ease tensions", said foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning.

 'First good news' 

The Kremlin called the deal "the first good news from Gaza in a very long time", noting "it is only on the basis of these kinds of pauses that some outlines of future attempts at a sustainable settlement can be built."

'All captives release'

French President Emmanuel Macron expressed hopes that French nationals would be among the captives released.

"We are working tirelessly to get all of the captives freed," Macron wrote on X (formerly Twitter), with eight French citizens missing since October 7.

'Stepping up aid deliveries'

EU chief Ursula von der Leyen said she has ordered her European Commission to step up aid deliveries to Gaza following the announcement of a four-day pause in the conflict under a captives-release deal.

"The European Commission will do its utmost to use this pause for a humanitarian surge to Gaza," she said in a statement, adding that "I wholeheartedly welcome the agreement".

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