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France urges ceasefire in 'disastrous' Israel, Gaza conflict

Published on Jul 13, 2014 7:10 PM

VIENNA (AFP) - France's foreign minister called on Sunday for an immediate ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, where a deadly six-day conflict is escalating in what he said was an "absolutely disastrous" way.

"In Gaza like in Israel, the absolute priority is a ceasefire," Laurent Fabius told reporters in Vienna, where he was gathering with his Western counterparts to discuss Iran's controversial nuclear programme in a meeting that was also due to touch on the Gaza offensive.

"In this context of an absolutely disastrous escalation, France - like the UN Security Council - calls for a return to the truce of 2012," he said, referring to a ceasefire agreement that ended the last round of fighting between Israel and Hamas militants in November 2012.

The latest descent into violence kicked off on June 12 when three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped and murdered, triggering a major military crackdown on Hamas in the West Bank and an escalation of rocket fire from Gaza.

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