EGYPTIAN FM REITERATES CALL FOR CEASEFIRE IN GAZA

CAIRO, July 19 — Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri on Friday reiterated the call on all parties to join the Egyptian initiative for ceasefire in Gaza Strip as a first step towards reopening of border crossings and resumption of the Palestinian-Israeli peace talks.

In a joint press conference with his French counterpart Laurent Fabius, Shukri said: “We are still hopeful for bringing an end to the conflict and stopping the bloodshed.

“The Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza is always open for meeting the humanitarian needs of the Palestinian people,” he pointed out.

The deteriorating situation in Gaza and the Israeli ground attack which led to the loss of lives of many innocent Palestinians highlight the need for unconditional approval of the Egyptian ceasefire initiative, he affirmed.

Shukri noted that he made intensive contacts with foreign ministers of Britian, Kuwait, Jordan, Norway, Saudi Arabia and the UAE as well as the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on ways to deescalate the conflict.

“I’ve met President Abbas who held talks with Egyptian President Abdelfatah Al-Sisi yesterday,” he went on.

Shukri noted that he discussed with US Secretary of State John Kerry the role the US could play in using its close ties with Israel, Jordan and Egypt to put an end to the conflict and resume the peace talks.

On his talks with Fabius, the Egyptian minister said they focused on the Egyptian efforts to end the conflict and protect the Palestinian people.

He urged the international community to make concerted efforts to reach a mutually-acceptable agreement that could put an end to the bloodshed in Gaza.

SOURCE: KUNA