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– Can seem quite promising

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– The sum of this can actually seem quite promising. So now we encourage all parties, Israel, of course, and Hamas, to look at this as positively as possible so that we can now see the beginning of the end of the war phase itself, says Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide (Ap). Photo: Erik Flaaris Johansen / NTB

Of NTB | 01.06.2024 11:33:09

War and conflicts: – I actually dare to say yes, at least to the fact that it is the beginning of a possible breakthrough. Hamas has publicly given it a rather warm reception. They are now sitting and looking at the details. It will be negotiated further, says Eide to NRK on Saturday morning.

US President Joe Biden said in a speech at the White House on Friday that Israel has submitted a proposal for a comprehensive ceasefire agreement on the Gaza Strip. Hamas itself later stated that it views the proposal positively.

– The sum of this can actually seem quite promising. So now we encourage all parties, Israel, of course, and Hamas, to look at this as positively as possible so that we can now see the beginning of the end of the war phase itself, says Eide.

– It is presented as a so-called Israeli proposal, and technically it is. But it is an Israeli proposal that the US has been heavily involved in and influenced. This means that there are a number of elements here that the US believes should be possible for Hamas to address, says the foreign minister.

He points out, among other things, that in the speech Biden did not only talk about the ceasefire proposal itself, but also about the importance of a peace solution being framed in the region. This concerns not least the cooperation with Saudi Arabia, and that the possibility that the Palestinians can govern themselves in the long term must be strengthened.

– We must have an armistice first, but then it must also point towards an end to the war and a return to the state before 7 October. You have to move on towards a political solution, and I am glad that it is now coming so clearly from the American side. There has been a movement here in recent weeks, states Eide.

In phase two, the parties will negotiate further, hostages will be released and Israeli forces will be withdrawn. A comprehensive plan for the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip will then be presented in phase three.

Eide says it is the first time that Biden is talking about a lasting ceasefire.

– All experience suggests that one must use the momentum that a ceasefire will eventually create, not only to lower the guard, but to step up efforts for a political solution afterwards. We believe there is no lasting solution to this that does not include a Palestinian state that can live in peace with Israel within a two-state solution, states the foreign minister.

He believes it is very important that the US has entered heavily into the process, and he believes it can be seen as a strong desire on the part of the US for the war to end.

The first phase of the plan is to last six weeks and include what Biden referred to as a full and complete ceasefire. In addition, it includes the withdrawal of Israeli forces from all populated areas of Gaza, the release of a number of hostages, including women, the elderly and the wounded, in exchange for the release of several hundred Palestinian prisoners.

(© NTB)

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