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Foreign Office Minister has commented on the ceasefire in Gaza and Southern Israel

Following the announcement of a ceasefire to end hostilities in Gaza and Southern Israel, Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt gave a series of interviews whilst on a visit to the region.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

During the interviews Alistair Burt said:

“The fact that there has been a ceasefire is of genuine, tremendous importance to the lives of ordinary people. But, of course, it is only a part of what must be a much more comprehensive settlement.”

“Any long-term agreement has got to see an end to the build-up of weapons by Hamas, the smuggling-in of missiles, so that the problem does not reoccur in the future. And then, even beyond that, the question is the wider issue of the Middle East peace process, which again we, the United States and others are committed to, and clearly, that has to be part of the future as well.”

“The United Kingdom has said for a long time that the living conditions in Gaza are poor, and that politically and economically we have not been able to agree with the Israeli government that the restrictions in Gaza have delivered their objectives.”

“The people of Gaza deserve a better existence than they have. And we will be helping and encouraging that. Indeed, to assist that, particularly at the moment, the Department of International Development have advanced £20 million to help the work of the United Nations there. There is much work to be done in Gaza, and we believe that if restrictions were eased, it would help the people of Gaza, and that’s an important factor too.”

Commenting on the leadership shown by the Egyptian government, Minister Burt added:

“It’s a very serious test for President Morsi. I think people will feel that he has done a good job. He has had to deal with Hamas, part of the Muslim Brotherhood, a terrorist organisation that’s been threatening Israel, and find a way through to broker something between the two of them. This has taken a lot of work and a lot of commitment. But the important thing now is how that relationship with Israel develops. “

“Egypt is a very major regional power. If this relationship works with Israel, it could unlock many things.”

Published 22 November 2012