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World powers turn to Egypt to mediate on Gaza

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Leaders urge Egypt to use leverage to de-escalate crisis

Air strike in Gaza. (AFP PHOTO)

Air strike in Gaza. (AFP PHOTO)

World leaders, including the United States president, called on Egypt to mediate on the situation in Gaza in a flurry of telephone conversations on Friday.

United States President Barack Obama called President Mohamed Morsy on Friday to discuss the situation in Gaza. Obama “commended Egypt’s efforts to de-escalate the situation and expressed his hope that these efforts would be successful,” according to a statement from the White House.

A spokesperson for the US department of state, Victoria Nuland, said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke to Foreign Minister Mohamed Amr, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, King Abdullah of Jordan and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu. Nuland said, “we are urging those countries with influence on Hamas and other groups in Gaza to use that influence to get a de-escalation.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin also contacted Morsy and “expressed his support for Cairo’s efforts to normalise the situation.” German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who was in Russia with Putin “called on the Egyptian government to use its influence on Hamas and persuade them to stop the violence.”

British Prime Minister David Cameron and Morsy “agreed that the priority must be to de-escalate the crisis and that Britain and Egypt should continue to urge both sides to take steps to reduce tensions.” British Foreign Secretary William Hague said, “the Egyptian government have been doing a good job to negotiate a ceasefire. I also spoke to the Egyptian foreign minister last night to urge Egypt to use that leverage… to try again over the coming days to negotiate a really meaningful ceasefire.”

Amr also spoke to his counterparts from US and Brazil, Jordan and Italy according to statement released by the foreign ministry. Amr discussed the latest developments and “regional and international action to halt Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip.”

Yesterday Prime Minister Hesham Qandil visited Gaza and called for all Palestinians to unite “in order to face the occupation forces.” He also stressed that Egypt would continue to work to secure a ceasefire.  Qandil met with Ismail Haniyeh, the prime minister of the Hamas government in Gaza and he also visited a hospital in Gaza.

Egypt helped to implement an un-official ceasefire last month and the international community hope that Egypt can use its influence to stop the violence again.

The Israeli operation Pillar of Defence began on Wednesday with an airstrike that killed a top Hamas official, Ahmed Jabari. Israel is using both its air and naval capabilities and a spokesperson for the Israeli army announced that 16,000 reserves will be called up.

An emergency meeting of Arab foreign ministers was held at the Arab League at 4pm Saturday to discuss how best to resolve the crisis.

About the author

Joel Gulhane

News Reporter

Joel Gulhane is a journalist with an interest in Egyptian and regional politics. Follow him on Twitter @jgulhane


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