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Russian Foreign Minister, Senior UN Official Call For Immediate Cease-Fire In Gaza

11.04.2024 12:27

Meetings between UN special coordinator for Middle East peace process, Russian officials focus on mobilizing global efforts aimed at expediting cease fire in Palestinian enclave.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland have called for an immediate cease-fire in the besieged Palestinian enclave of Gaza.

In a statement, the Russian Foreign Ministry said that Lavrov and Wennesland met on Wednesday evening and discussed in detail the situation in Gaza.

"Amid the humanitarian catastrophe unfolding in the enclave, the importance of an immediate cease-fire, ensuring safe and unhindered access to all victims and those in need, and the release of hostages was emphasized," the ministry said.

Lavrov said that the Oct.7 attack by Hamas "deserves condemnation" but cannot be used as a pretext for the collective punishment of millions of Palestinians.

The minister and the UN official also paid attention to the prospects of the restoration of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process after the end of the combat activities in Gaza.

"Both sides stressed that there was no alternative to a two-state solution providing for the creation of an independent State of Palestine within the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital, coexisting in peace and security with Israel," it said.

The two also exchanged views on the general situation in the Middle East, including the rising tension between Israel and Lebanon, Israeli attacks on Syria and instability in the Red Sea.

Wennesland also met with Russian Presidential Envoy for the Middle East Mikhail Bogdanov, the ministry said, noting that the meeting discussed the current situation in Gaza, with a focus on mobilizing global effort aimed at expediting a cease-fire.

"It was stressed that without a just solution to the Palestinian issue, a lasting and long-term stabilization of the situation in the Middle East is impossible," the ministry said.

Israel has waged a military offensive on the Gaza Strip since an Oct. 7 cross-border attack by the Palestinian group Hamas which killed around 1,200 people.

Around 33,500 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza since the war began.

Israel has also imposed a crippling blockade on the seaside enclave, leaving its population, particularly residents of northern Gaza, on the verge of starvation.

The war has pushed 85% of Gaza's population into internal displacement amid acute shortages of food, clean water and medicine, while much of the enclave's infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which has urged it to do more to prevent famine in Gaza. -

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