16 world leaders back Biden ceasefire call, urge Hamas to take deal

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 16 world leaders back Biden ceasefire call, urge Hamas to take deal

JNS

"At this decisive moment, we call on the leaders of Israel as well as Hamas to make whatever final compromises are necessary," said the statement.

Leaders of 16 countries, including many whose citizens were taken hostage by Hamas on Oct. 7, issued a statement on Thursday backing U.S. President Joe Biden's May 31 ceasefire proposal, calling on the Gaza-based terror group to "close this agreement."

"There is no time to lose," read the statement signed by the leaders of Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, France, Germany, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Spain, Thailand and the United Kingdom. The United States also signed the statement.

"As leaders of countries deeply concerned for the hostages held by Hamas in Gaza, including many of our own citizens, we fully support the movement towards a ceasefire and hostage release deal now on the table and as outlined by President Biden on May 31, 2024," the text said.

Noting that Jerusalem is "ready to move forward" with the terms proposed by Biden on Friday, the world leaders stressed that the deal would lead to an "immediate ceasefire and rehabilitation of Gaza together with security assurances for Israelis, and Palestinians, and opportunities for a more enduring long-term peace and a two-state solution."

"At this decisive moment, we call on the leaders of Israel as well as Hamas to make whatever final compromises are necessary to close this deal and bring relief to the families of our hostages, as well as those on both sides of this terrible conflict, including the civilian populations," the statement continues.

"It is time for the war to end, and this deal is the necessary starting point," it concludes.

Earlier on Thursday, Saudi Arabia's Asharq al-Awsat daily reported that Hamas had rejected the deal, claiming it differed significantly from what was outlined by Biden last week.

The terror group sent a clarification memorandum to other Palestinian terror factions on Wednesday, the text of which was seen by the news outlet. It claims that the current proposal "does not promise a permanent ceasefire, the occupation's forces will remain in Gaza, and when they receive the hostages, they will renew the destruction against our nation."

Hamas is demanding an end to the war and the withdrawal of Israeli troops from the Strip, two conditions Jerusalem rejects. The Israeli War Cabinet's goals remain the same: returning the hostages, defeating Hamas as a military and political force in Gaza and ensuring that the coastal enclave can never again threaten the Jewish state.

During a closed-door meeting of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told lawmakers he would "not describe the details of the deal," adding however that Biden’s portrayal of Israel's position was "not accurate."

"I am not willing to stop the war," Netanyahu was quoted as saying. "We can stop the fighting for 42 days in order to return hostages, but we will not give up on total victory."


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