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GreeceGerapetritis: 'We call for an immediate and lasting cessation of hostilities in...

Gerapetritis: ‘We call for an immediate and lasting cessation of hostilities in Gaza’

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Foreign Minister George Gerapetritis on Thursday called for an “immediate and lasting cessation of hostilities” in Gaza, with the “release of hostages, the opening of humanitarian corridors and the restoration of vital infrastructure,” during joint statements with his Palestinian counterpart Riyad al-Maliki after their meeting in Athens.

“It is clear that the international community must react immediately and collectively. And the truce and peace in the region must be placed under the auspices of the United Nations. Diplomacy must succeed,” he added.

Gerapetritis noted that the meeting with his Palestinian counterpart was taking place while the Middle East was in a crisis, “which has long since…taken on global dimensions.”
“Greece is deeply concerned over the escalation of tension in Gaza and its spread to the West Bank, to South Lebanon, to Syria and the Red Sea. And, of course, we are concerned about a possible spread of the attacks to the region of Rafah,” he added.
He noted that Greece’s stance has been consistent from the start, and is expressed with integrity and objectivity.

“We condemn all forms of terrorist action and must once again make it clear that Hamas cannot be confused or identified with the Palestinian people. As for scenarios of displacing populations, or of collective responsibility, they are categorically unacceptable,” he said, stressing that Palestinians must be able to remain in their homes.

“The fundamental position of our country remains unchanged,” Gerapetritis said, adding that Greece strenuously supports a two-state solution and the creation of an independent Palestinian state, which will coexist in peace with Israel within the internationally recognised borders, based on the pre-1967 border and with East Jerusalem as its capital.

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“This political prospect is beneficial, not only for the Palestinians of Gaza and the West Bank but for the entire Arab world, for regional stability and for Israel itself,” he said.
He noted that Greece’s position has been expressed and continues to be expressed with its active participation in all international fora and the sending of humanitarian aid to the region, with the latest consignment of 20 tonnes sent by the Greek Red Cross to Gaza on Wednesday.

“We will continue this humanitarian aid. We will accelerate, in collaboration with the Palestinian Authority, the idea for a field hospital so that there is management of the tens of thousands of injured in Gaza,” he said.

Gerapetritis said that his visit to Ramallah last November, as well as the meeting held in Athens, was an indication of Greece’s support for the Palestinian Authority as the representative of the Palestinian people and the interlocutor of the international community, which plays an important role in the resolution of the Palestinian problem.

He also referred to his subsequent visits and meetings with his counterparts in all the countries that are crucial actors in the region, such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan, in addition to Israel, as well as his recent visit to the United States and his meetings with the UN Secretary General and US Secretary of State.

“With both we share our intense concern about the situation in the Middle East,” he commented.

“Our country will continue to actively support every initiative that promotes a just and sustainable solution of the Middle East problem and peace in the broader region and the world,” he concluded.

Al-Maliki: Attack on Rafah will signal new slaughter

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki also referred to his frequent meetings with Gerapetritis recently, and the mutual trust for cooperation in the interests of the region and for peace, justice and its stability.

“We share this responsibility for how peace and justice will come about and how a region that has known many wars and violence will be led to stability,” he said, thanking Gerapetritis for his interest in a cessation of hostilities and a desire to find humanitarian solutions to protect Palestinians.

He praised Gerapetritis for always coming up with ideas and initiatives to stop the war and emphasised that the lives of Palestinians were important and must not be discounted.
Al-Maliki said that it was now 132 days since the war in Gaza began, leaving 20,000-30,000 dead, more than 70,000 people injured and the infrastructure entirely destroyed, making the region “unfit to live in”.

“We are working so that Israel doesn’t launch attacks on Rafah. An attack on Rafah would mean new slaughter,” he said, adding: “This ordeal is not just for Palestinians but for the Greek state and all the world. The slaughters and attacks have now become a daily occurrence for us.”

He said that with Gerapetritis they had discussed ways to increase the humanitarian aid entering Gaza and how to stop the displacements. He also accused Israel’s army of daily attacks whose aim “is to eradicate all Palestinians” and described Israeli ministers as “terrorists” who “seek the annihilation of Gaza”.

“The settlers will not stop as long as they are encouraged by the government of Israel. The international community must show an interest,” he said, calling for sanctions. He stressed the need for a political solution to end the crisis, saying there must be an opportunity to end the war, let in humanitarian aid and establish a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.

SOURCE; ANA-MPA

The copyrights for these articles are owned by the Hellenic News of America. They may not be redistributed without the permission of the owner. The opinions expressed by our authors do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Hellenic News of America and its representatives.

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