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Russia welcomes cease-fire between Israel, Palestinian groups, Hamas

Russia on Friday welcomed the cease-fire declared between Israel and Hamas after 11 days of Israeli airstrikes on the blockaded Gaza Strip.

Speaking at a news conference in Moscow, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Moscow noted “with deep satisfaction” that the cease-fire came into force on May 21 at 2:00 a.m. (2300GMT Thursday) as it was agreed.

She stressed the next step should be a resumption of the direct Palestinian-Israeli talks to achieve sustainable peace and avoid further escalation in the future.

Russia is ready to host direct talks between the two sides, she said, adding Palestine has expressed its readiness to sit at the negotiating table, while Israel has not given its consent yet.

A total of 232 Palestinians, including 65 children and 39 women, were killed during Israeli attacks on Gaza since May 10.

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