Brown renews call for end to Gaza violence

January 4th, 2009 - 10:49 pm ICT by IANS  

Gordon BrownLondon, Jan 4 (Xinhua) British Prime Minister Gordon Brown Sunday renewed his call for an immediate ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.In an interview with the BBC, Brown said: “What we have to do almost immediately is to work harder than we have done for an immediate ceasefire.”

He said he had spoken to Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on three occasions in the past few days and attempted to talk to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and others in the region on how to stop the violence immediately.

The ongoing talks “would take us beyond the immediate violence into the sort of solutions we want, but the very events that we see emphasise what the real challenge is - Israel needs to be secure, Palestine needs to be viable,” he said.

He also called on the Arab nations to do more to end the conflict and repeated that this included requiring Hamas to end rocket attacks against Israel.

During the next few days, deals had to be agreed between the powers, Britain, the US and the European Union (EU) that would result in a ceasefire, he added.

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband earlier said “intensive” diplomatic efforts to find a solution were continuing as the crisis had affected the “whole world”.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for Tony Blair, the EU’s Middle East peace envoy, told the BBC that the former British prime minister is in Jerusalem to discuss the issue with various leaders.

“He has been working on the issue from the start” and will “continue to be engaged on this current situation”, the spokesman said.

Blair is due to meet Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Israeli defence minister and have already spoken to other international leaders, he added.

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