Blair optimistic on Gaza ceasefire

January 12th, 2009 - 8:58 pm ICT by IANS  

Cairo, Jan 12 (DPA) Former British prime minister and Middle East special envoy Tony Blair Monday said “elements were in place” for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.Speaking after a meeting with Egyptian President Hosny Mubarak in Cairo, Blair stressed that any agreement must be predicated on an end to weapons smuggling into Gaza and an end to the blockade of the territory.

“An agreement has to be credible in terms of stopping the supplies of weapons into Gaza, but also credible in terms of opening up Gaza and allowing the Gazan people to get what they need from the outside world,” Blair said.

The British leader urged international donors to focus on rebuilding Gaza and aiding civilians after fighting stops.

“But resolving the intra-Palestinian conflict and reconciling Gaza and the West Bank should be the next step,” he added. “Palestinian reconciliation is a prerequisite to the establishment of a Palestinian state.

“We all hope that a ceasefire is achieved in the coming days, but this will only be achieved if a credible and an effective plan is adopted,” Blair said.

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