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France - Middle East

France hosts Gaza truce summit

US Secretary of State John Kerry arrives in Paris
US Secretary of State John Kerry arrives in Paris Reuters/Pool

US, European and Arab diplomats were to meet in Paris on Saturday to press for a truce in Gaza. A 12-hour humanitarian ceasefire in the conflict started earlier Saturday morning.


French Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Fabius was to host his counterparts from the US, Britain, Germany, Italy, Qatar, Turkey and the European Union in a meeting at the French foreign ministry in a bid to broker a longer truce between Israel and Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip.

Dossier: Gaza 2009

The meeting, originally scheduled to start at 9.00am, was put off to 11.00am.

Meetings in Cairo failed to come up with a long-term agreement but US Secretary of State John Kerry insisted that there was the basis for an end to the hostilities, which have cost the lives of over 900 Palestinians, 39 Israelis and a Thai immigrant worker.

He was going to Paris to meet Turkish FM Ahmet Davutoglu and Qatar’s Khaled al-Attiya, whose countries are close to Hamas, he said.

The Islamist movement has so far said no to an Egypt-brokered truce, calling for an end to Israel’s blockade of the territory and the release of prisoners rounded up after the kidnapping of three young Israelis who were later murdered.

The bodies of over 35 Palestinians were retrieved from the rubble in Gaza during the first three hours of the ceasefire, emergency services announced.

As the ministers meet organisers of a planned Gaza solidarity demonstration were due to appeal against Friday’s ban on their rally to the Council of State.

If their appeal fails, they have called on supporters to defy the ban and rally at the city Place de la République at 3.00pm.

"Today we cannot let the Palestinians be massacred," Sandra Dumarcq of the New Anticapitalist Party told RFI. "Protests have taken place all around the globe ... even in Tel Aviv. And they are not banned. We think that its urgent to act, there are more than 800 deaths on the Palestinian side. This conflict must end."

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