Kerry calls on parties to take advantage of 72-hour ceasefire
Thursday, July 31, 2014 - 00:46
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry comments on the 72-hour ceasefire agreed to by Israel and Hamas. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
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ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION)
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said it is imperative that both sides take advantage of the 72-hour ceasefire in the conflict in the Gaza Strip agreed to by Israel and Hamas.
"Now obviously, while we are grateful that the violence and the bloodshed has the opportunity to stop for more than 24 hours, it is up to the parties, all of them, to take advantage of this moment. There are no guarantees," Kerry said while on his visit to India.
The ceasefire will begin at 8 a.m. local time (1.00 a.m. EDT) on Aug. 1, according to a joint statement by Kerry and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. The statement said "forces on the ground will remain in place" during the truce, implying that Israeli ground forces will not withdraw.
Israeli and Palestinian delegations will immediately travel to Cairo for negotiations with the Egyptian government to reach a durable ceasefire, the statement said.
Israel launched its offensive on July 8 after Hamas rocket fire from Gaza intensified.
Gaza officials say 1,427 Palestinians, mostly civilians, have been killed and nearly 7,000 wounded. Fifty-six Israeli soldiers have been killed in Gaza clashes and some 400 wounded. Three civilians have been killed by Hamas shelling in Israel.
Kerry said it was imperative that the sides find common ground to reach a peaceful solution.
"This is a difficult, complicated issue, years and years in the building and I think everyone knows it has not been easy to get to this point," Kerry said. "And everyone knows that it will not be easy even to get beyond this point, but it is imperative that people make the best effort to find common ground and do so."
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