US seeks to extend Gaza truce

Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state, has said that the US hopes for a "comprehensive ceasefire" between Israel and Palestinian fighters following talks with Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president.

US seeks to extend Gaza truce
Rice thanked Abbas for his efforts in securing the ceasefire, at a press conference in the West Bank town of Jericho on Thursday.
"Thank you also for the efforts you have made to bring about the ceasefire that is now in effect in Gaza and that we hope will be consolidated so that it can be extended, because we would hope in time for a comprehensive ceasefire," Rice said.
Ceasefire agreement


A ceasefire came into effect in the Gaza Strip on Sunday. Palestinian armed groups agreed to halt rocket fire against Israel in exchange for an Israeli troop withdrawal from the territory.


Abbas said: "We talked about the truce that has taken effect in the Gaza Strip, and we hope it will be extended to the West Bank." 


The truce aims to end five months of fighting between Israelis and Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. About 400 Palestinians and three Israeli soldiers have died in the territory in that time.


Rice praised Abbas for what she called his "extraordinary efforts" in trying to create a Palestinian unity government with Hamas, a rival group to Abbas's Fatah movement.


However, Abbas said that talks on forming a national unity government with Hamas have reached a "dead end".


"This is very painful for us because we know how badly the people have been suffering over the last nine months," he said.




Rice said she had discussed with Abbas "how we can intensify our efforts to support our commitment towards progress on a two-state solution".


"The creation of a viable, independent, democratic Palestinian state that can live side-by-side in peace with Israel would be not just a remarkable achievement but a just achievement," Rice said.


The Abbas-Rice talks came after George Bush, the US president, gave a ringing endorsement of Abbas, who he said had the world's support.


"There is no question that if we were able to settle the Palestinian-Israeli issue it would help bring more peace to the Middle East and therefore our government is focused on helping develop a two-state solution," Bush told a news conference in Amman after talks with Nuri al-Maliki, Iraq's prime minister.


Washington has insisted the key to breaking the Israeli-Palestinian stalemate lies with efforts by Abbas to sideline Hamas, which has controlled the Palestinian government since winning elections early this year.


The European Union, Israel and the United States have imposed an aid boycott on the government, arguing that Hamas does not recognise Israel's right to exist as a state.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16