UN 'to convene assembly over Gaza'

General assembly to meet in emergency session over ongoing Gaza crisis.

    Rice said she had urged Israel to accept the
    Egypt-France proposal [AFP]

    Amid continued diplomatic activity, Egyptian officials said on Wednesday that an Israeli team would travel to Cairo for talks on an Egyptian-French ceasefire initiative but it was not clear if members of the Palestinian group Hamas and the Palestinian Authority would attend.

    IN DEPTH

    Latest news and analysis from Gaza and Israel

    Al Jazeera Labs: Report on and track the war

    Send us your views and eyewitness videos

    Watch our coverage of the war on Gaza

    The Egyptian-French initiative would see an immediate temporary truce to allow aid into Gaza, negotiations and measures to prevent arms smuggling from Egypt into Gaza.

    On Wednesday Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state, said at the UN that the US considered a ceasefire "necessary" and that she had impressed on Israeli and Arab ministers "the importance of moving [the French-Egyptian] initiative forward".

    She reiterated her belief, however, that any ceasefire "will not allow a return to the status quo".

    Libya, currently the only Arab nation serving as a non-permanent member of the security council, had been urging council members to back its resolution, while other members of the council had reportedly favoured issuing a non-binding "presidential statement".

    But the US had blocked an earlier Libyan draft resolution that Washington and its allies saw as anti-Israel.

    Meanwhile the French government had initially said that Israel and the Palestinian Authority had accepted the Egypt-France initiative to end the crisis, but Israel and Hamas have said the proposal was still under discussion.

    Initiative

    Mark Regev, a spokesman for Ehud Olmert, the Israeli prime minister, said on Wednesday regarding the proposal: "We welcome the French-Egyptian initiative. We want to see it succeed," adding that talks would "continue on the basis of that initiative".

    "A sustainable calm in the south will be based upon the total absence of hostile fire from Gaza into Israel and an effective arms embargo on Hamas that enjoys international support," he said.

    Speaking to Al Jazeera from Beirut, Osama Hamdan, a senior Hamas official, said "the [Hamas] movement is now discussing its stance to the Egyptian initiative, keeping in mind that there are, in principle, a number of reservations on this initiative".

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    The woman who cleans up after 'lonely deaths' in Japan

    The woman who cleans up after 'lonely deaths' in Japan

    When somebody dies lonely and alone, Miyu Kojima steps in to clean their home and organise the mementos of their life.

    Putin and the 'triumph of Christianity' in Russia

    Putin and the 'triumph of Christianity' in Russia

    The rise of the Orthodox Church in Russia appears unstoppable, write filmmakers Glen Ellis and Viktoryia Kolchyna who went to investigate the close ties between the church and Putin.

    The chill effect: Is India's media running scared?

    The chill effect: Is India's media running scared?

    Much of India's media spurns a scoop about the son of PM Modi's right-hand man. Plus, NFL as platform for race politics.