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Russian foreign minister, senior UN official call for immediate ceasefire in Gaza

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Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland have called for an immediate ceasefire in the besieged Palestinian enclave of Gaza, Anadolu news agency reported.

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 ceasefire, 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 7 October 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 ceasefire.

“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 deadly military offensive against the Gaza Strip since a 7 October cross-border attack by the Palestinian Resistance group, Hamas, which killed less than 1,200 people.

However, since then, it has been revealed by Haaretz that helicopters and tanks of the Israeli army had, in fact, killed many of the 1,139 soldiers and civilians claimed by Israel to have been killed by the Palestinian Resistance.

More than 33,300 Palestinians have since been killed and nearly 76,000 injured amid mass destruction and shortages of necessities.

The Israeli war, now on day 186, has pushed 85 per cent of Gaza’s population into internal displacement amid acute shortages of food, clean water and medicine, while 60 per cent of the enclave’s infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed, according to the UN.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) which, in January, issued an interim ruling that ordered it to stop genocidal acts and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.

Source: Middle East Monitor

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