Kerry hopes Hamas-Israel ceasefire agreement will be durable

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Welcoming the latest ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas, US Secretary of State John Kerry hoped the move would prove to be durable and sustainable towards bringing lasting peace in the region.

"We strongly support today's ceasefire agreement, and call on all parties to fully and completely comply with its terms. We hope very much that this ceasefire will prove to be durable and sustainable, that it will put an end to rocket and mortar attacks, and that it will help to bring about an enduring end to the conflict in Gaza," Kerry said yesterday.

Noting that the delivery of urgently needed humanitarian assistance to the people in Gaza must be accelerated, Kerry said the US and the international community are fully committed to supporting this effort.

"We are also prepared to work with our international partners on a major reconstruction initiative, with appropriate measures in place to ensure that this is for the benefit of the civilian population in Gaza, not Hamas and other terrorist organisations. We look forward to coordinating closely with President Abbas and the Palestinian Authority on these critical efforts," he said.

Praising Egypt for its role in hosting the negotiations in Cairo, Kerry said the US had continued to work in close coordination with the Egyptians, the Israelis, the Palestinian Authority and others in the region to arrive at this moment of opportunity.

"We are all aware that this is an opportunity, not a certainty. Today's agreement comes after many hours and days of intensive discussions about how a sustainable ceasefire might provide the space and the opportunity to address long-term issues," he said.

"We are approaching the next phase with our eyes wide open. We have been down this road before and we are all aware of the challenges ahead. Both the Israelis and the Palestinians have strong views about their needs and the future of the region. Certain bedrock outcomes are essential if there is to be long term solution for Gaza," he said.

Israelis have to be able to live in peace and security, without terrorist attacks, without rockets, without tunnels, without sirens going off and families scrambling to bomb shelters, he said.

Palestinians also need to be able to live in peace and security and have full economic and social opportunities to build better lives for themselves and for their children, he added.

"Getting there will not be easy, but it is the only path to a future that the people on both sides deserve," he said.

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