Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

No strategy and a beige suit

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 29 August 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 29 August 2014

Read more

ENCORE!

Alain Choquette: A Hilarious Magician in Paris

Read more

FOCUS

France welcomes Iraqi Christian refugees

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Emmanuel Macron: A new economy minister with a pro-business agenda

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

More of this year's best Observers stories

Read more

#TECH 24

Changing the world, one video game at a time

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Socialist Party summer conference kicks off in explosive atmosphere

Read more

  • Exclusive: Fabius warns of further sanctions against Russia

    Read more

  • Experimental Ebola drug ‘ZMapp’ heals all monkeys in study

    Read more

  • IMF stands behind Lagarde amid French corruption probe

    Read more

  • Ukraine to relaunch NATO membership bid

    Read more

  • Suriname leader’s son pleads guilty to courting Hezbollah

    Read more

  • British killer escapes from French psychiatric hospital

    Read more

  • Chelsea’s Torres set for AC Milan switch

    Read more

  • Police hunt for British boy with brain tumour taken to France

    Read more

  • France shines in IMF list of world’s promising economists

    Read more

  • Mapping Ukraine: Canada and Russia in ‘tweet for tat’ row

    Read more

  • First case of Ebola confirmed in Senegal

    Read more

  • Obama has 'no strategy yet' on potential Syria strikes

    Read more

  • Netflix to woo French with ‘House of Cards’ set in Marseille

    Read more

  • French businesses ‘hoping for a new Thatcher’

    Read more

  • Syrian refugees surpass 3 million, UN says

    Read more

  • West backs Ukrainian claims of Russian incursion

    Read more

  • Libyan PM resigns as Islamists set up rival administration

    Read more

  • UN says 43 peacekeepers captured in Golan Heights

    Read more

  • The deleted tweets of Manuel Valls

    Read more

  • Peru seizes record 6.5 tonnes of Europe-bound cocaine

    Read more

Middle east

Mitchell says 'critical' Gaza ceasefire must hold

Text by FRANCE 24 (with wires)

Latest update : 2009-01-28

New US envoy to the Mideast George Mitchell said it was "critical" to consolidate the tenuous Gaza ceasefire in the wake of renewed violence. Mitchell arrived in Israel on Wednesday for talks after meeting with Egyptian leaders in Cairo.

New US peace envoy George Mitchell said on Wednesday it was critically important to consolidate the Gaza ceasefire, as Israel warned it would defend itself after a soldier was killed by Palestinian militants.
   
"It is of critical importance that the ceasefire be extended and consolidated. We support Egypt's continuing efforts in that regard," he said after meeting Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Cairo.
   
Mitchell thanked Egypt for its efforts to bring about a ceasefire and said the United States is "committed to vigorously pursuing lasting peace and stability in the region."
   
"The decision by President Obama to dispatch me to come to this region less than one week after his inauguration is clear and tangible evidence of this commitment," Mitchell said.

Mitchell arrived in Israel on Wednesday on the second leg of his maiden regional tour.
   
Earlier on Wednesday, Israeli warplanes bombed tunnels linking Gaza and Egypt that Israel says are used to smuggle weapons, responding to an attack on Tuesday that killed an Israeli soldier and wounded three others.
   
A Palestinian man was killed by Israeli fire shortly afterwards and a Hamas fighter and two other Palestinians wounded in an air strike, also in southern Gaza.
   
"Israel wants the calm in the south to continue, but yesterday's deadly attack from Gaza was an attempt to deliberately undermine the calm," government spokesman Mark Regev told AFP.
   
"In the face of such violent provocation, Israel will act to protect itself," he said following the attack, which came 10 days after Israel and Hamas declared mutual ceasefires to end a deadly 22-day onslaught on Gaza.
   
The incidents marked the most serious violence since the unilateral ceasefires were declared on January 18, ending the Jewish state's war on the Islamist stronghold.
   
Ahead of Mitchell's arrival in Egypt on Tuesday, Obama said it was time for "both sides to realise that the path that they are on is one that is not going to result in prosperity and security for their people."
   
"Instead, it's time to return to the negotiating table," he said in an interview with Al-Arabiya television.
   
Egypt has been holding separate talks with Israeli and Hamas officials, as well as with representatives of other Palestinian militant groups.
   
Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit said the talks have "evolved positively," and a "permanent" truce could be agreed in the first week of February.
   
He said such a ceasefire would lead to the reopening of crossing points into Gaza, where most of the 1.5 million population depend on outside aid but have been suffering under a crippling Israeli blockade.
   
Hamas, which has said it is mulling an Israeli proposal for an 18-month renewable ceasefire, insists that Israel and Egypt open their crossing points.
   
Israel has said it will not do so unless Hamas frees a soldier seized by militants in a cross-border raid in June 2006. Egypt has refused to permanently open its Rafah crossing in the absence of representatives of moderate Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas at the border.
   
Abbas's Fatah faction and Hamas have been at odds since the Islamists ousted forces loyal to Abbas from the coastal strip in June 2007.
   
Meanwhile, a member of Islamic Jihad said Egypt's truce proposal conditioned reopening Gaza's borders completely on freeing the soldier, Egypt's state-owned Al-Ahram newspaper reported on Wednesday.
   
Jamil Yusef said the proposal would allow "about 70 percent of (Gaza's) daily needs" to pass through the crossings, which will open fully "after solving the issue of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit."
   
Jamil also said the proposal stipulates that Gaza's reconstruction would begin once the "international community is satisfied with the political situation in Gaza."
   
Israel's war in Gaza, launched on December 27 in response to militant rocket and mortar fire, killed more than 1,300 people, more than half of them civilians, and wounded more than 5,400, according to Gaza medics.
   
On the Israeli side, three civilians and 10 soldiers were killed in combat and by rocket fire.

 

Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak canceled his planned departure on Wednesday for talks in Washington due to renewed tensions in Gaza, a senior ministry official said.
   
"Barak decided to cancel his trip to the United States during which he planned to meet his US counterpart Secretary of Defence Robert Gates and other senior officials in the administration due to the security events in the south," he said.
   
Barak was due to leave for Washington after meeting with Mitchell in Jerusalem.

 

Date created : 2009-01-28

COMMENT(S)