16 Oct 2023 19:11

Presidents of Russia, Syria, Iran, Palestine, Egypt urge Gaza truce - Kremlin

MOSCOW. Oct 16 (Interfax) - Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday had phone calls with his counterparts Bashar al-Assad of Syria, Ebrahim Raisi of Iran, Mahmoud Abbas of Palestine, and Abdel Fattah El-Sisi of Egypt, the Kremlin said in a statement.

"The conversations focused on the sharply exacerbated Palestinian-Israeli conflict. [The leaders] expressed utter concern over the large-scale escalation of hostilities, accompanied by a catastrophic rise in civilian casualties and the deepening humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip. [The leaders] expressed their unanimous opinion about the need for an urgent ceasefire and to establish a humanitarian truce in order to provide urgent aid to all those in need," the statement said.

"The Russian president heard the considerations and assessments from his counterparts, which emphasized the acuteness of the humanitarian situation in Gaza and the need to lift the blockade on the Strip to urgently deliver medications, food and other vital essentials. [The leaders] also noted their serious concern about the likelihood of the conflict escalating into a regional war," it said.

"For his part, Vladimir Putin stressed the unacceptability of any form of violence against civilians and noted that Russia deeply sympathizes with everyone affected and the families and friends of those killed in the armed standoff, and is ready to provide humanitarian aid. [He] reaffirmed Russia's resolve to coordinate efforts with constructively-minded partners in order to stop the hostilities and stabilize the situation as soon as possible. This is exactly the aim of the Russian-proposed UN Security Council resolution on the declaration of an immediate humanitarian truce, which is of a balanced and non-politicized nature," the statement said.

"In everyone's view, the current unprecedented escalation was caused by the lengthy stagnation in the Middle East peace process. In this context, Vladimir Putin reiterated the principled position in favor of restarting the political process aimed at reaching a lasting and fair resolution of the Palestinian problem on the known international-legal basis, which would involve the creation of an independent Palestinian state co-existing in peace and security with Israel," it said.

Putin also discussed Egypt's assistance to Russian and CIS citizens evacuating the Gaza Strip with El-Sisi, the Kremlin said.