Thursday, May 23, 2024

Foreign Minister continues call for ceasefire

The Government is urging both Israel and Hamas to agree to an immediate ceasefire to avoid the further humanitarian catastrophe that military action in Rafah would unleash, Foreign Minister, Winston Peters said today.

“The immense suffering in Gaza cannot be allowed to worsen further. Both sides have a responsibility to put an end to the conflict,” the Minister said.

“New Zealand has been consistent in calling for restraint and stating that a military incursion into Rafah would be utterly unacceptable. We urge both sides to step back from the brink.

“We commend the efforts of those, including Egypt, Qatar and the United States, seeking to broker an agreement, which must include an extended ceasefire and the release of hostages,” he said.

Mr Peters said it was the responsibility of both Israel and Hamas to agree to terms which enable an immediate cessation of armed conflict, the release of hostages, and a focus on meeting the immediate humanitarian needs of the people in Gaza.

He said the Government continues to advocate for a long-term, political solution to the situation, so that Israelis and Palestinians can live securely and peacefully side by side.

“We are clear that Israel and a future Palestinian state, living peacefully side-by-side, is the only durable, realistic and fair solution. Everyone in the international community should be working to that end.”

“Such a solution can only be achieved around a negotiating table, not in Rafah,” Mr Peters said.

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