Putin, Abbas Discuss Peace Efforts in Gaza as Ceasefire Deadline Nears End

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Russian President Vladimir Putin and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas discussed in a phone call Wednesday the situation in the Gaza Strip and international efforts to end armed hostilities in the violence-torn enclave, the Kremlin said in a statement.

MOSCOW, August 13 (RIA Novosti) - Russian President Vladimir Putin and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas discussed in a phone call Wednesday the situation in the Gaza Strip and international efforts to end armed hostilities in the violence-torn enclave, the Kremlin said in a statement.

“The Palestinian president praised Russia’s active role in international efforts aimed at stopping deadly hostilities, establishing a humanitarian ceasefire and seeking ways for long-term political settlement [of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict],” the Kremlin said.

Israeli, Palestinian, Egyptian negotiators are currently seeking a deal in Cairo to extend a humanitarian truce in Gaza as the current three-day ceasefire between Israel and Hamas militants is due to expire at 21:00 GMT Wednesday.

Abbas informed Putin about the course of the ongoing indirect dialogue between Israeli and Palestinian delegations, and commended Russia’s cooperation with Egypt as an important factor to strengthen peace and stability in the Middle East.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Sisi discussed with Putin the settlement of the conflict in Gaza on Tuesday, as part of his official visit to Russia.

In Cairo, Palestinian demanded from Tel Aviv to lift the Gaza Strip blockade. Israel wants to demilitarize Gaza.

On July 8, Israel launched an offensive against the Hamas movement in response to the military group’s rocket attacks. On July 17, the Israeli switched to a ground offensive to destroy the network of Hamas tunnels along the Gaza border with western Israel.

Around 1,900 people have lost their lives in Gaza, the majority of whom are civilians. Sixty-four Israeli soldiers have died since the operation Protective Edge was announced by Tel Aviv, with further three civilians killed in Israel, including a Thai national.

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