Foreign Minister Steinmeier issued the following statement today (5 August) on the Middle East ceasefire which took effect on Tuesday morning:
I welcome the parties’ eventual agreement on a ceasefire for Gaza, which it seems is actually being upheld now too. Everyone who helped bring about the truce, especially the Egyptian Government, deserves the greatest of respect. I hope it can be successfully extended into a more long term ceasefire, to bring the interminable suffering of the civilian population to an end at long last. The images of the many children killed and injured should be a wake up call for everyone. The parties now need to create the right conditions to prevent a prompt repeat of this tragedy.
The ceasefire now needs to be used first and foremost to get urgently needed aid to the people, to treat the injured and to mitigate the dramatic humanitarian situation facing Gaza’s families. While that is being done, talks on a lasting armistice also need to be swiftly launched. That will involve ending the threat posed to Israel by Hamas’ missiles and tunnels and finally giving the people in Gaza the prospect of a better life.
The international community stands ready to play its part. Primarily, however, the parties themselves need to show the requisite courage and readiness to change the status quo.