Monday, June 24, 2024

ARGENTINA | 06-06-2024 12:20

Milei signs Biden’s statement calling for Hamas-Israel ceasefire deal

President Javier Milei’s government co-signs US-led statement urging Hamas to accept a ceasefire deal and Israel to accept compromises in a bid to stop the ongoing conflict in the Gaza Strip.

Argentina has joined the United States and 15 other nations in calling for Hamas to accept a ceasefire deal and Israel to accept compromises.

The joint statement, an initiative by US President Joe Biden’s government, was signed by the leaders of key European powers Britain, France and Germany as well as by Spain, which recently infuriated Israel by recognising a Palestinian state.

Notably, given President Javier Milei’s unquestionable support for Israel, the statement was also signed by Brazil and Colombia, whose left-wing presidents have stridently denounced military operations in Gaza and Rafah.

"There is no time to lose. We call on Hamas to close this agreement," said the statement, which was first issued by the White House.

Through the Foreign Ministry, President Javier Milei’s government also released the statement, which called on the leaders of Hamas and Israel to make “whatever final compromises are necessary to close the deal.”

The United States has repeatedly said the onus is on Hamas to accept the deal, but the statement also called for flexibility from Israel.

“As leaders of countries deeply concerned for the hostages held by Hamas in Gaza, including many of our own citizens, we fully support the movement towards a ceasefire and hostage release deal now on the table and as outlined by President Biden on May 31, 2024,” begins the statement.

“There is no time to lose. We call on Hamas to close this agreement, that Israel is ready to move forward with, and begin the process of releasing our citizens,” it continues.

“We note that this agreement would lead to an immediate ceasefire and rehabilitation of Gaza together with security assurances for Israelis, and Palestinians, and opportunities for a more enduring long-term peace and a two-state solution.

"At this decisive moment, we call on the leaders of Israel as well as Hamas to make whatever final compromises are necessary to close this deal and bring relief to the families of our hostages, as well as those on both sides of this terrible conflict, including the civilian populations," it said.

"It is time for the war to end and this deal is the necessary starting point."

Biden last week publicly announced a new plan in which Israel would withdraw from Gaza population centres and Hamas would free hostages for an initial six weeks, with the ceasefire extended as negotiators seek a permanent end to hostilities. 

He billed the plan as an Israeli offer, although it has drawn criticism from some right-wing Israeli politicians critical to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition government. 

Mediator Qatar has submitted the plan to Hamas for review. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has also been pushing the plan through phone calls with Arab foreign ministers.

Thursday's statement was also signed by Thailand, which has a large force of workers in Israel and saw around 30 of its citizens taken hostage of the around 250 people seized by gunmen in the October 7 attack.

Other countries signing the statement were Austria, Bulgaria, Canada, Denmark, Poland, Portugal, Romania and Serbia.

The war was sparked by Hamas's October 7 attack, which resulted in the deaths of 1,194 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli official figures.

Israel's retaliatory military offensive has killed at least 36,654 people in Gaza, also mostly civilians, according to the Hamas-run territory's health ministry.



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