Sarkozy with Abbas
Photo: AP
Sarkozy with Peres
Photo: Reuters

Sarkozy calls for Gaza ceasefire

French president arrives in Middle East, urges both sides to hold fire, negotiate truce, says 'the guns must fall silent, there must be a humanitarian truce'

French President Nicolas Sarkozy, on a peacemaking mission to the Middle East, called on Monday for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas fighters in the Gaza Strip "as soon as possible".


Addressing a news conference in Ramallah with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Sarkozy said the European Union was working to support efforts to end the bloodshed.


He said he would tell Israeli leaders later in the day that the violence must stop. He also condemned Hamas for its attacks on Israel.


"We in Europe want a ceasefire as quickly as possible, and that everyone understands that time is running against peace," Sarkozy said. "The guns must fall silent, there must be a humanitarian truce.


"Everyone must understand that what is at stake here is not just an issue of Israel and Palestinians, it is a global issue and it is the whole world which will help you find a solution."


Abbas called for an "immediate and unconditional cessation" to Israel's offensive in the Gaza Strip.

"After that, we can discuss all other issues, including reopening the border crossings and reasserting the truce," he said.


After his visit to Ramallah, the French president met President Shimon Peres and expressed his concerns about the situation in the Gaza Strip.


"I am a friend but who wants to talk frankly, I am deeply concerned about the situation. We need a humanitarian truce a few days, the interest of everyone. Israel is strong, Israel must take the risk of peace," he insisted, saying he had "always regarded the security of Israel as a priority. "


Reuters and AFP contributed to this report


פרסום ראשון: 01.05.09, 22:02
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