Sunday, 3 August 2014

2/8 Midnight quest to win the peace AP

Midnight quest to win the peace

HOURS past midnight on Thursday, the US Secretary of State, John Kerry, was still working the phones, trying to come up with a ceasefire plan to stop the bloodshed in the Gaza Strip. He’d been pushing for a deal all day — in fact, for more than a week — and nailing down a final agreement was proving elusive.
Finally, less than an hour after all sides signed off on the precise and technical wording for a 72-hour truce, Kerry issued a statement and called a 3.30 am Friday press conference to seal the deal before any party could back out.
It was the kind of announcement that ricocheted around the world: announced simultaneously at UN headquarters in New York and in New Delhi, where Mr Kerry was meeting with India officials; drawing in regional players from Turkey to Egypt to Qatar; and finally converging on the tiny strip of land on the Mediterranean Sea where Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas have fought an
all-out war in the past three weeks.
Aides said Mr Kerry made more than 100 calls over the past 10 days, including several dozen on Thursday alone, to broker the agreement that he failed to reach a week ago in Cairo — to much ridicule and indignation from Israelis, who had accused him of going soft on Hamas.
He announced the deal in the middle of the night on Friday with an air of weariness, and solemnity, rather than declaring victory.
“This is not a time for congratulations and joy, or anything except a serious determination, a focus, by everybody to try to figure out the road ahead,” he said.
“This is a respite. It’s a moment of opportunity, not an end; it’s not a solution. It’s the opportunity to find the solution.
“So we come at it with sober reflection about the lives lost and the violence suffered,” Mr Kerry said.

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