EU welcomes Gaza ceasefire, urges 'political solution'

The statement insisted that 'only a political solution will bring sustainable peace and end once for all the Palestinian-Israeli conflict'.

A ball of fire erupts from a building in Gaza City's Rimal residential district on 16 May 2021, during massive Israeli bombardment on the Hamas-controlled enclave. Picture: Bashar TALEB/AFP

BRUSSELS, Belgium - The European Union on Friday welcomed a ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, and vowed to increase efforts for a long-term "political solution" to resolve the crisis.

"The European Union welcomes the announced ceasefire bringing to an end the violence in and around Gaza. We commend Egypt, Qatar, United Nations, United States and others who have played a facilitating role in this," EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said in a statement.

"We are appalled and regret the loss of life over these past 11 days. As the EU has consistently reiterated, the situation in the Gaza Strip has long been unsustainable."

The statement insisted that "only a political solution will bring sustainable peace and end once for all the Palestinian-Israeli conflict".

"Restoring a political horizon towards a two-state solution now remains of utmost importance. The EU is ready to fully support Israeli and Palestinian authorities in these efforts," it said.

"The EU is renewing its engagement with key international partners, including the United States, and other partners in the region, as well as with the revitalised Middle East Quartet, to this end."

A ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, appeared to be holding Friday after 11 days of deadly fighting that pounded the Palestinian enclave and forced countless Israelis to seek shelter from rockets.

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