John Kerry: Egyptian Cease-Fire Plan Still Workable
CAIRO, Egypt - Secretary of State John Kerry said his first full day of meetings here to discuss a resolution to the Israeli-Hamas violence was "constructive" but there were no immediate signs of any progress towards a cease-fire.
As he has for the past few days, Kerry reiterated that the United States believes that a proposal released by Egypt for an immediate end to hostilities is the best way forward, and that only Hamas is left to sign on to that plan.
"While we still obviously have work to do, it's also clear to me from each of the parties that I've met with that there is a framework available to end the violence. And that framework is the Egyptian initiative that has been put forward," he said.
Kerry made those remarks while addressing reporters at the Egyptian presidential palace where he met with President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry.
Kerry, dispatched here by President Obama, also spoke in more urgent and descriptive language than he has in recent days about the humanitarian crisis facing residents of Gaza, many of whom cannot move out of danger despite Israeli warnings to do so.
"We have watched the humanitarian crisis in Gaza grow worse day after day: people losing their homes, all of their possessions, their access to food and water, their entire way of life," he said.
But. he added, the loss of lives on both sides of the border was unacceptable and that he would be working for the "next days" to help Egypt, a key broker in the talks between Israel and Hamas, achieve a lasting cease-fire agreement.
"For the sake of thousands of innocent families whose lives have been shaken and destroyed by this conflict on all sides, we hope we can get there as soon as possible," he said.