French, US presidents voice common wish for cease-fire in Mideast

France's Macron calls on Israel to open all crossing points to allow humanitarian aid delivery in Gaza

10:13 - 9/06/2024 Sunday
File photo
File photo

The presidents of France and the US on Saturday voiced their common wish to reach a cease-fire in the Middle East.

“We want to reach an immediate cease-fire and progress toward a political solution … for a just and durable peace,” France's Emmanuel Macron told a joint news conference in Paris.

He expressed support for the US peace plan in the Middle East, and described the human toll and the humanitarian situation in Rafah as “unacceptable and intolerable” as “Israel does not open all crossing points for humanitarian aid,” despite the request from the international community for months.

“We reiterate our request for a cease-fire so that massive aid can enter,” Macron added and vowed joint efforts to avoid a “regional explosion,” particularly in Lebanon.

Tension has flared along the border between Lebanon and Israel amid intermittent exchanges of fire between Israeli forces and Hezbollah, in the deadliest clashes since the two sides fought a full-scale war in 2006.

The two leaders also commented on Israel's rescue of four Israeli captives in attacks across various locations in the central Gaza Strip, which Hamas said left more than 210 Palestinians dead.

Calling for the immediate release of captives in Gaza, Macron said: "We welcome the rescue of four Israeli hostages by the Israeli army."

Expressing satisfaction with the rescue of the Israeli captives, Biden said that they would continue working toward the release of all captives and maintaining efforts until a cease-fire is achieved.

Earlier, the Israeli army announced that it launched attacks on various locations in the central part of the Gaza Strip and successfully rescued a total of four Israeli captives from two different areas.

However, the Hamas-run Government Media Office said that at least 210 Palestinians were killed and more than 400 injured on Saturday in severe Israeli airstrikes targeting Nuseirat refugee camp, areas east of Deir al-Balah, and al-Bureij and al-Maghazi camps in central Gaza, coinciding with a sudden incursion of vehicles east and northwest of Nuseirat.

Israel has continued its brutal offensive on Gaza since a Hamas attack last Oct. 7 despite a UN Security Council resolution demanding an immediate cease-fire.

More than 36,800 Palestinians have since been killed in Gaza, most of them women and children, and nearly 83,700 others injured, according to local health authorities.

Eight months into the Israeli war, vast tracts of Gaza lay in ruins amid a crippling blockade of food, clean water, and medicine.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice, whose latest ruling ordered Tel Aviv to immediately halt its operation in the southern city of Rafah, where over a million Palestinians had sought refuge.

- Ukraine

Both Macron and Biden vowed continuous efforts to support Ukraine.

“Because we know what happens if (Russian President Vladimir) Putin succeeds in subjugating Ukraine. You know Putin is not going to stop at Ukraine. It's not just Ukraine, it's about much more than Ukraine. All of Europe will be threatened,” the US president said and stressed that his country will not “let that happen.”

On Friday, Biden apologized to his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskyy over the delay in passing a much-needed military aid package for the besieged nation, worth more than $60.8 billion.

“I wish we would have done it when we wanted to six months earlier but we got it done,” he told the news conference on Saturday.

“The United States is standing strong with Ukraine,” he added.

Macron, for his part, also criticized Iran's “escalation strategy” in the region and its nuclear activities.

“Our countries are determined to apply the necessary pressure,” Macron said.

15 days ago