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White House Welcomes Ceasefire, Calls for Long-Term Truce

White House says it strongly supports the three-day ceasefire in Gaza, urges "restraint" until it begins.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 8/1/2014, 4:44 AM

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White House
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The White House said on Thursday night that it strongly supports the new three-day ceasefire agreed to by Israel and Hamas in Gaza, Reuters reported.

In a statement, Washington urged "restraint" in the hours before the truce begins at 8:00 a.m. Israel time (0500 GMT) on Friday.

"We urge all parties to act with restraint until this humanitarian ceasefire begins," the White House statement said.

The White House also said it hopes talks can begin "immediately" in Cairo for a longer-term truce.

"We believe the only sustainable way to address Israel's security concerns and enable Palestinians in Gaza to lead normal lives is through a permanent ceasefire agreement," said the statement quoted by Reuters.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced earlier on Thursday that Israel and Hamas have agreed to a 72-hour ceasefire.

Kerry said that the two sides would enter talks in Cairo after the 72-hour period starts.

Hamas said it agreed to the ceasefire and would observe it as long as Israel does as well, though it fired a salvo of rockets towards Israel shortly after news of the ceasefire was made public.

Kerry’s announcement came hours after  the State Department said that Kerry had "made some progress" in talks to try to reach a ceasefire in Gaza.

Kerry said earlier on Thursday that he remained hopeful for a ceasefire in the Gaza conflict but declined to predict when.