UN welcomes Gaza ceasefire

UN welcomes Gaza ceasefire

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres welcomed a cease-fire between Gaza and Israel on Thursday and urged all sides to observe the truce. 

The cease-fire took effect at 2 a.m. Friday (2300GMT Thursday).

The Egyptian-brokered cease-fire comes after 11 days of Israeli airstrikes on the blockaded Gaza Strip.

During a media stakeout, the UN chief appealed to the international community to work with the UN on "developing an integrated, robust package of support for a swift, sustainable reconstruction and recovery that supports the Palestinian people and strengthens their institutions.

"I stress that Israeli and Palestinian leaders have a responsibility beyond the restoration of calm to start a serious dialogue to address the root causes of the conflict," said Guterres.

"Gaza is an integral part of the future Palestinian state and no effort should be spared to bring about real national reconciliation that ends the division,"  Anadolu Agency cited him as saying.

The UN will work with Israelis and Palestinians, and international and regional partners, including through the Middle East Quartet, "to return to the path of meaningful negotiations to end the occupation and allow for the realization of a two-State solution on the basis of the 1967 lines, UN resolutions, international law and mutual agreements," Guterres added.

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