Blair welcomes Gaza ceasefire

Lancaster And Morecambe Citizen: Tony Blair congratulated the Egyptian government on its successful negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian factions Tony Blair congratulated the Egyptian government on its successful negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian factions

Former prime minister Tony Blair has welcomed the announcement of an open-ended ceasefire in Gaza but expressed regret at the "tragic" loss of so many innocent lives.

The Middle East peace envoy also congratulated the Egyptian government on its successful negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian factions.

He said: " The Quartet will now concentrate on a long-term plan for Gaza and for its reconstruction, including the effective and efficient reopening and reconnection to the outside world under the authority of the Palestinian authority government.

"Such a plan will enable a proper and decent life for the people of Gaza, as well as protect the security of the people of Israel.

"It is only tragic that such a ceasefire has come too late to save the lives of so many innocent people."

The ceasefire halted a seven-week war that killed more than 2,200 people, left tens of thousands in Gaza homeless and devastated entire neighbourhoods in the blockaded territory.

Hamas declared victory and bursts of celebratory gunfire erupted across Gaza, but the terms of the deal fell far short of its demand that Israel and Egypt open Gaza's borders.

Under the Egyptian-brokered deal, Israel is to ease restrictions on imports into Gaza, including aid and material for reconstruction. It also allows Palestinians to fish six nautical miles offshore, up from three nautical miles.

In a month, the ceasefire calls for talks to begin in Cairo on more complex issues, including building a seaport and airport in Gaza, and Israel's demand that Hamas disarm.

However, the agreement appeared to contain no major Israeli concessions and previous understandings after a round of fighting in 2012 quickly dissipated.

Previous ceasefire deals have collapsed since the war began on July 8 and it was not clear if this one would hold. The truce took effect at 7pm local time, but violence persisted until the last minute.

Middle East minister Tobias Ellwood also welcomed the ceasefire and paid tribute to the Egyptian government for its work in securing the truce.

He went on: "The ceasefire provides a critical and welcome window of opportunity for reaching a comprehensive agreement that tackles the underlying causes of the conflict.

"This should ensure that Hamas and other militant groups permanently end rocket fire and other attacks against Israel; the Palestinian Authority resumes control of Gaza and restores effective and accountable governance; and that Israel lifts its restrictions in order to ease the suffering of ordinary Palestinians and allow the Gazan economy to grow.

"There should be international monitoring and verification to ensure full implementation of a comprehensive agreement.

"These discussions are not easy but there is no viable alternative. The international community stands ready to assist."

Comments (6)

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10:00pm Tue 26 Aug 14

cosmick says...

Thats spooky just saying today had not seen Tony for a couple of weeks, thought he was counting his money.
Thats spooky just saying today had not seen Tony for a couple of weeks, thought he was counting his money. cosmick
  • Score: 3

10:00am Wed 27 Aug 14

llos25 says...

When is this thief ,liar and discrace to humanity going to be arrested along with his cohort wife.
When is this thief ,liar and discrace to humanity going to be arrested along with his cohort wife. llos25
  • Score: 4

10:54am Wed 27 Aug 14

ian923 says...

He was supposed to sort out problems in the Middle East years ago! What a waste of good skin he is. He can lay no claim to any ceasefire.
He was supposed to sort out problems in the Middle East years ago! What a waste of good skin he is. He can lay no claim to any ceasefire. ian923
  • Score: 3

12:47pm Wed 27 Aug 14

Shropshirelad says...

How can this man live with himself. He must think that the rest of society think that he is something important. He is an utter disgrace to this country.
How can this man live with himself. He must think that the rest of society think that he is something important. He is an utter disgrace to this country. Shropshirelad
  • Score: 2

12:57pm Wed 27 Aug 14

Katie Re-Registered says...

I still feel sorry for the majority of sane Palestinians - particularly the imprisoned in a closet LGBTQ ones - who are also suffering under Hamas rule. Let's face it, being ruled by deranged Godbotherers of any religious pretensions isn't much fun for anyone, is it?
I still feel sorry for the majority of sane Palestinians - particularly the imprisoned in a closet LGBTQ ones - who are also suffering under Hamas rule. Let's face it, being ruled by deranged Godbotherers of any religious pretensions isn't much fun for anyone, is it? Katie Re-Registered
  • Score: 0

5:51pm Wed 27 Aug 14

welshmen says...

shropshirelad:
"How can this man live with himself," that's easy, he's not a man he's a piece of filth, rather make £million's than help the Millions now at war....He makes money not peace....
shropshirelad: "How can this man live with himself," that's easy, he's not a man he's a piece of filth, rather make £million's than help the Millions now at war....He makes money not peace.... welshmen
  • Score: 2
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