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Foreign Secretary calls for ceasefire in Gaza
Foreign Secretary William Hague spoke separately to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.
Speaking after the calls, the Foreign Secretary said:
I spoke to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman today.
I stressed the need for an immediate de-escalation and restoration of the November 2012 ceasefire, our deep concern about the number of civilian casualties and the need for all sides to avoid further civilian injuries and the loss of innocent life.
I told Minister Lieberman that continuing rocket attacks from Gaza are completely unacceptable. Israel has a right to defend itself against such attacks, but the whole world wanted to see de-escalation.
I welcomed President Abbas’s call for a ceasefire agreed by both sides, and urged him to do all he could to help bring this about. I offered my condolences for the loss of civilian lives in Gaza.
It is clear that we need urgent, concerted international action to secure a ceasefire, as was the case in 2012. I will discuss this with John Kerry, Laurent Fabius and Frank-Walter Steinmeier tomorrow in Vienna. When I spoke to Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry on 10 July, I stressed our strong support for an active Egyptian role in working for a ceasefire.
The current crisis only underlines the need for a fundamental transformation of the situation in Gaza, including the restoration of Palestinian Authority control, the opening up of legitimate movement and access and a permanent end to the unacceptable threat of rocket attacks and other forms of violence from Gaza against Israel.
It is also a stark reminder of the need to make progress toward a permanent peace, based on the two-state solution. However difficult that looks at this time, there is no alternative that can deliver peace and security for both Israelis and Palestinians. This is a time for bold leadership. Both sides should take the necessary steps towards a lasting peace and to address the underlying causes of the conflict and instability in Gaza. I stressed that the UK stands ready to do all it can to support this goal.
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