Kolkata, India: World powers welcomed an Egyptian-mediated ceasefire between Israel and Hamas that was in place Friday while urging a long-term political solution to the Middle East conflict.
Here are reactions from around the world:
The European Union welcomed a ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas and vowed to increase efforts for a long-term “political solution” to resolve the crisis.
“The European Union welcomes the announced ceasefire bringing to an end the violence in and around Gaza. We commend Egypt, Qatar, United Nations, United States, and others who have played a facilitating role in this,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said in a statement.
“We are appalled and regret the loss of life over these past 11 days. As the EU has consistently reiterated, the situation in the Gaza Strip has long been unsustainable.”
The statement insisted that “only a political solution will bring sustainable peace and end once for all the Palestinian-Israeli conflict”.
“Restoring a political horizon towards a two-state solution now remains of utmost importance. The EU is ready to fully support Israeli and Palestinian authorities in these efforts,” it said.
“The EU is renewing its engagement with key international partners, including the United States, and other partners in the region, as well as with the revitalized Middle East Quartet, to this end.”
Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said while Moscow was satisfied with the truce, more needed to be done.
“This is an important but still insufficient step,” she said.
“In order to avoid a resumption of violence, we must double international and regional efforts on relaunching direct political negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.”
Turkey’s foreign ministry welcomed the ceasefire, saying it hopes it will be “sustainable”, while placing blame on Israel for the unrest.
“The only way to a permanent, fair and comprehensive solution to the Palestinian issue is Israel’s putting an end to its occupation.”
Beijing on Friday welcomed a ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas, the Islamist movement which controls the Gaza Strip, saying China hopes there will be a “cessation of violence” and a return to peace talks.
Beijing said the international community now needs to “extend helping hands” to the region and will commit $1 million in emergency aid and a further $1 million to UN relief efforts for the Palestinians.
It will also provide 200,000 doses of the Covid-19 vaccine to the Palestinians.
“China welcomes the ceasefire between both sides in the Palestine-Israel conflict, and hopes the relevant parties will earnestly implement the ceasefire and cessation of violence,” foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said at a press conference Friday.
“The international community should promote the resumption of peace talks between Palestine and Israel, and achieve a comprehensive, just and lasting solution to the Palestine issue on the basis of the two-state solution,” he added.
Beijing — which has invited the two sides to hold direct talks in China — has also used the conflict as an opportunity to hit out at the US, including criticizing Washington for earlier blocking a joint statement on the crisis at the UN Security Council.
Zhao said that China was willing to work with the international community to “promote further easing of the tense Palestine-Israel situation.”
President Joe Biden said the ceasefire marks a “genuine opportunity” for peace following the unrest.
“I believe we have a genuine opportunity to make progress and I’m committed to working toward it,” Biden said at the White House, highlighting Egypt’s role in brokering the truce.
“Good that there is now a ceasefire,” Foreign Minister Heiko Maas tweeted, a day after he visited Israel and Ramallah for talks.
“Now we have to deal with the causes, rebuild trust and find a solution to the Middle East conflict.”
Britain called on all sides to the conflict to ensure the ceasefire is lasting.
“All sides must work to make the ceasefire durable and end the unacceptable cycle of violence and loss of civilian life,” UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said on Twitter, adding that Britain supports “efforts to bring about peace”.
France welcomed the ceasefire but said the violence underscored the need for a relaunch of the peace process.
Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian warned that barring negotiations, “cycles of violence will be repeated”.
Lebanon’s Iran-backed militant group Hezbollah, which has close ties with the Islamist movement Hamas, said the ceasefire marked a “historic victory”.
“Hezbollah congratulates the heroic Palestinian people and its valiant resistance on the historic victory achieved… against the Zionist enemy,” the Shiite group said in a statement.
Kuwait’s foreign ministry said, “the agreement is a step to help save lives and end the violence for which the Israeli occupation authorities bear responsibility”.
“Achieving stability in the region requires concerted international efforts to resume the peace process in the Middle East and to establish an independent Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital,” it said in a statement.
Jordanian foreign ministry spokesman Dhaifallah Ali al-Fayez said the ceasefire was a “positive and necessary first step”.
“Israel must comply with it and stop the provocations and escalation in the occupied territories,” he said in a statement, calling for the start of “serious negotiations aimed at achieving a comprehensive, lasting and just peace on the basis of a two-state solution”.
Bahrain’s foreign ministry said in a statement it welcomed the pact and “stressed the importance of continued international efforts to resolve the Palestinian issue on the basis of a two-state solution”.
Pope Francis hailed the ceasefire and urged the entire Catholic Church to pray for peace.
“I thank God for the decision to halt the armed conflicts and acts of violence, and I pray for the pursuit of paths of dialogue and peace,” he said.