By Shahid Qureshi –
(London) Philip Hammond attended talks on 26 July with Laurent Fabius, John Kerry and other ministers from across Europe, Turkey and Qatar to discuss ongoing violence in Gaza
Speaking after the meeting, the Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said:
We all welcome the short humanitarian ceasefire that has been negotiated and I congratulate our American, Egyptian, Qatari, and Turkish colleagues on the work that they’ve been doing and to persuade Hamas to agree to that ceasefire. We all agreed that there must be an extension of that ceasefire. The humanitarian situation demands it, everybody wants to see an end to the loss of lives.
The partners around the table were all clear that they will use their efforts, and are prepared to commit resources at supporting the regeneration and economic development of Gaza once a solution has been agreed. That solution must also recognise the security needs of Israel.
Getting a ceasefire agreed is quite an achievement because both sides have preconditions and demands that they have been setting out. What we now need to do is reconcile the legitimate demands of the Palestinian people in Gaza for the opening of the crossings, the improved access to Gaza, the return of normal life to Gaza and on the other hand, the legitimate demands of Israel for protection of its security. Squaring those two things will be challenging, but that’s what we need to discuss when we get the parties around the table for substantive negotiations.
We are all going to hit the phones now, go back to our various countries, talk to our various partners, and we will give our very best effort to extend the ceasefire. There has to be a substantive discussion about the issues but for now, the agenda is about getting the ceasefire extended without preconditions.