23 July 2014

Egypt: Kerry in Cairo to Push for Gaza Ceasefire

Photo: Flickr
U.S. Senator John Kerry.

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Cairo on Tuesday in an attempt to push for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.

After 17 days of conflict in Gaza, both Kerry and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon are urging Egypt's President Abdel-Fatah al-Sisi to be more aggressive in brokering a halt to the fighting in Gaza.

In a joint statement after meeting Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, Kerry said that the United States is concerned about the level of civilian casualties in Gaza, although he termed Israel's actions in the Strip "appropriate and legitimate".

Kerry also labelled the progress of talks with the Egyptians so far constructive, while calling for an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.

Even so, he said that the underlying causes need to be addressed with peace talks.

Alongside the discussion, the US has now promised a total of 47 million dollars (35 million euros) in humanitarian aid to Gaza, with around 15 million of this going directly to assist refugee issues alone.

Gaza is now witnessing a high level of internal displacements due to shelling.

As Kerry entered the Egyptian presidential palace, observers were surprised to see that he and his team were swiped for explosives, an action remarked on as highly unusual.

Kerry is expected to stay in Cairo for at least the rest of today for further talks.

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