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France, Britain, Germany urge Gaza truce: joint declaration

France, Britain and Germany on Saturday (Aug 9) called on Israel and Hamas to agree on an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, according to a joint declaration from the three countries' foreign ministries.

PARIS: France, Britain and Germany on Saturday (Aug 9) called on Israel and Hamas to agree on an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, according to a joint declaration from the three countries' foreign ministries.

"We call upon all parties immediately to return to a cease-fire. We fully support the ongoing efforts by Egypt to this end," said the statement from foreign ministers Laurent Fabius of France, Philip Hammond of Britain and Frank-Walter Steinmeier of Germany.

"All parties should take immediate practical steps to address the urgent humanitarian needs including to facilitate full humanitarian access. To be sustainable, a ceasefire must envisage steps to address both Israeli security concerns and Palestinian requirements regarding the lifting of restrictions on Gaza.

"The final objective must be to see a return to talks on a negotiated two-state solution, which remains the only way to resolve the conflict and end the human suffering it causes once and for all."

A 72-hour truce in Gaza ended on Friday (Aug 8). Israeli warplanes pummelled the region with 50 air strikes that killed at least five Palestinians on Saturday (Aug 9) while militants fired 23 rockets into Israel.

Tens of thousands of pro-Palestinian demonstrators marched through central London and Cape Town on Saturday (Aug 9), condemning Israel's one-month military assault on 1.8 million Palestinians. Protests were also held in Paris and other French towns.

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