Many leaders around the world have called for an end to the fighting between Israel and Hamas in recent weeks. Following the news Wednesday morning (local time) that the Israeli government had agreed to a hostage deal, one word was on the lips of many politicians: progress.
U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken late Tuesday called the talks “significant progress” but said “the country will not rest as long as Hamas continues to hold hostages in Gaza.”
UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron described the deal between Israel and Hamas as “an important step in providing aid to the families of the hostages and addressing the humanitarian crisis in Gaza”.
Australian Foreign Minister Benny Wong also hailed the deal as a sign of progress.
European Commission President Ursula van der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel said they welcomed a definitive agreement between Israel and Hamas on the release of hostages.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov described the deal as “the first good news from Gaza in a long time” and added that Russia continues to advocate for ceasefires and humanitarian pauses.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Mao Ning said he hoped the deal would “help alleviate the severe humanitarian crisis, reduce the intensity of the conflict and ease tensions.”
Qatar, a key negotiator, said it hoped a pause in the fighting would pave the way for a long-term solution.
“The country’s priority now is to work towards a long-term ceasefire, efforts to end the war and work towards a lasting peace,” Mohammed Al-Khulaifi, Minister of State for Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said in a statement.
That sentiment was shared by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who “welcomed the success” of the Egyptian-Qatar-US mediation, but renewed his commitment to finding “finality and stability” in implementing a humanitarian ceasefire.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas also welcomed the hostage deal but renewed his calls for a complete ceasefire, according to the Palestinian state news agency Wafa.
Reminder: Israel and Hamas agreed to a four-day humanitarian pause to allow the release of at least 50 hostages — women and children — held in Gaza. The deal will also see the release of 150 Palestinians, including women and children, from Israeli prisons.
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