Speaking today, the Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said:
I welcome the agreement by all parties to extend the humanitarian ceasefire and to work towards a lasting ceasefire in Gaza, with Egyptian mediation. I have called the Egyptian Foreign Minister, Sameh Shukri, to congratulate him on his efforts.
The extension of negotiations should provide respite from the violence for the beleaguered people of Gaza and an opportunity for aid agencies and others to address the dire humanitarian situation there. It is vital that Hamas and other militant groups end rocket fire and that the Palestinian Authority resumes control of Gaza. And Israel should ease its restrictions in order to allow ordinary Palestinians to go about their business and the Gazan economy to grow.
The current negotiations are not easy. But there is no other viable option than a comprehensive negotiated solution that will allow both Israeli and Palestinian families to live without fear of further violence.
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