Security Council Praises Ceasefire, Calls to Uphold It
The UN Security Council on Wednesday called on Israel and Hamas to "act seriously" to maintain their tentative ceasefire and joined praise for Egypt's president for halting the violence, AFP reported.
The 15-member council also called in a statement for an international effort to get "emergency aid" into Gaza after Israel’s Operation Pillar of Defense.
The council held protracted talks on the wording of the first statement on the conflict which came several hours after the ceasefire was declared.
"The members of the council called on the parties to uphold the agreement and to act seriously to implement its provisions in good faith," said the statement, according to AFP.
The international community also had to help improve living conditions in Gaza by "providing additional emergency aid through appropriate established channels," the council said.
There had to be "expeditious and unimpeded delivery of such humanitarian assistance, including of food, fuel and medical treatment," said the statement.
The council and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon both praised the role of Egypt's President Mohammed Morsi in setting up the ceasefire, reported AFP.
"I commend the parties for stepping back from the brink, and I commend President Morsi of Egypt for his exceptional leadership," Ban said in a briefing to the council by video from Israel, where he has been taking part in talks.
The Security Council members "strongly commend" Morsi for his efforts to end the violence, their statement said.
The United States and the EU also welcomed the ceasefire, according to the AFP report.
U.S. President Barack Obama also praised Morsi's mediation work, according to a White House statement.
“The president thanked President Morsi for his efforts to achieve a sustainable ceasefire and for his personal leadership in negotiating a ceasefire proposal," said the statement.
Obama also reaffirmed the "close partnership" between Washington and Cairo, the White House said, adding that the two leaders "agreed on the importance of working toward a more durable solution to the situation in Gaza."
Obama also praised Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, expressing “his appreciation for the prime minister's efforts to work with the new Egyptian government to achieve a sustainable ceasefire and a more durable solution to this problem," the statement said.
"The president commended the prime minister for agreeing to the Egyptian ceasefire proposal, which the president recommended the prime minister do, while reiterating that Israel maintains the right to defend itself," it added.
European Union leaders Jose Manuel Barroso and Herman Van Rompuy also welcomed the ceasefire, while cautiously stressing that the parties must "ensure its implementation and to prevent the restart of violence."
Their statement added that the events of the last days "stress the urgent need to move towards a two-state solution allowing both sides to live side-by-side in peace and security".
On Wednesday evening, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman held a joint news conference announcing the ceasefire.
Hamas celebrated the ceasefire and claimed “victory” over Israel. The terror group’s chief Khaled Mashaal announced in a press conference Wednesday evening that Israel "has failed in all its goals" in Operation Defensive Pillar, following the cease fire announcement.
The terror group marked the ceasefire by firing 20 rockets at southern Israel between 9:00 p.m. and midnight Wednesday evening.