International Statements about Egypt’s Efforts to Secure a Gaza Ceasefire

As the deadliest conflict seen in Gaza in the past five years rages on, Egypt has made attempts to resume its role as mediator between the Israeli and Palestinian authorities. A ceasefire proposal was announced on July 14, which was consequently accepted by Israel but rejected by Hamas. While the Egyptian initiative has received international backing from the United States, the United Nations, and other Middle Eastern and European nations, Hamas has continued to cling to its demands, which include the opening of the Rafah border crossing. Turkey and Qatar have also been working on a ceasefire initiative of their own, one that will cater more to Hamas’ demands, but one that will also not likely be accepted by the Israelis.

Much has been said by the international community about the Egyptian initiative. Below is a list of quotes made over the past weeks since the Egyptian ceasefire proposal was announced.

United States

Hamas has a fundamental choice to make and it is a choice that will have a profound impact for the people of Gaza. And the Egyptians have provided a framework and the forum for them to be able to come to the table to have a serious discussion together with other factions of the Palestinians.

I want to thank the people of Egypt for their hard work in transitioning to a democracy through their election and in making difficult choices with respect to their economy and the future today. And I particularly thank them for supporting their president in the effort to try to find an end to the conflict in Gaza and particularly to try to bring an immediate cease-fire. The United States is very grateful for Egypt’s leadership and we’re here today – I am here personally at the request of President Obama – to immediately try to find a way to support Egypt’s initiative.
Secretary of State John Kerry, July 22, 2014

We are both here in support of and in an effort to help get implemented the Egyptian initiative for the cease-fire. Israel and Egypt have encouraged that, and Israel has accepted that cease-fire proposal. So only Hamas now needs to make the decision to spare innocent civilians from this violence.
Secretary of State John Kerry, July 21, 2014

We do believe that there’s not another viable plan out there, that this is not a negotiation about rewarding a terrorist organization. Obviously, our position on Hamas hasn’t changed. But this is an important point to talk to the Egyptians, who do play a role here and have played an important role in past cease-fires, as you’ve noted, to see if we can get to a cease-fire here. I would also emphasize that this is hard and that I think the Secretary will be there on the ground talking to the Egyptians, but that I think we need to be realistic about how hard this is. We’d like to see progress as soon as possible, but this is a very difficult challenge.

…While we understand Qatar’s role, the Secretary has spoken to the Qataris as well, we have said all along that we support the Egyptian initiative for a cease-fire, and that is the effort the Secretary is going over there to build on to see if we can make some progress on. But obviously, we encourage anyone who has influence with Hamas to use that influence to push them to accept the Egyptian cease-fire proposal, no matter who that is.

We’ve been clear that we support the Egyptian proposal today, that we believe this is the best path — they certainly play a key role in the Arab world in general. I mean, I know we’ve talked about that a lot in this room regardless of who the leader of Egypt is, quite frankly. It partly is the border. It partly is the fact that they still have a peace treaty with Israel, right. And so they are someone who can talk to the parties and who can try to help us get back to a place of a cease-fire. And they’re certainly one part of this, but obviously, we can’t do the work for them; neither can the Egyptians. We need the parties on the ground to actually accept and adhere to a cease-fire.
Marie Harf, State Department Spokesperson, July 21, 2014

In response to question about the UN Security Council: I would note that no action requiring a vote has been proposed from this session. We’re not aware that this has changed. We’re certainly supportive of diplomatic efforts to end the ongoing violence. And our focus, though, is on the Egyptian initiative and the role that can play as a means of doing that – of moving to a ceasefire moving forward, and that’s really where our efforts remain.

I think our view and what we’re continuing to convey to any country in the region, including Turkey, is that the most productive role they can play is supporting the Egyptian ceasefire proposal. When there are concerns we have about comments made or actions taken, even when it is a NATO ally, we certainly don’t hesitate to make those concerns known.

Well, our view is that there’s no other serious ceasefire proposal being discussed other than the Egyptian proposal. And so in the Secretary’s engagements with leaders in the region, he’s certainly made that clear…In terms of our role, the Secretary’s engagement has been pretty expansive, as you’ve seen by his phone calls. And he is trying to engage each of these countries with determining what role they can play.
Jen Psaki, State Department Spokesperson, July 18, 2014

“We are encouraged that Egypt has made a proposal to accomplish this goal that we hope can restore the calm that we are seeking,”
President Barack Obama, July 14, 2014

United Nations

The most promising prospect of a ceasefire comes in the form of the initiative put forward by Egypt on the basis of the November 2012 understanding on a ceasefire.  This effort has garnered the support of President Abbas and the League of Arab States. Unfortunately, Hamas has yet to respond positively.  I encourage all those with influence to urge constructive action.  This is the most meaningful path to peace.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, July 22, 2014

Our joint efforts are rooted on three mutually reinforcing efforts. First and foremost, we must find a way to stop the violence. So many people have died. As the Secretary just said, it’s mostly civilian population, women and children. It’s very sad, it’s tragic. We have to do all what we can do. That is why I am here in support of the Egyptian mediation proposal, and I’m coming from Qatar where I met Qatari emir. And also, I met President Abbas in Doha. And I went to Kuwait and I had the very good meeting with the Kuwaiti emir who is now a chair of the League of Arab State summit meeting. Tomorrow I am going to Israel and Palestine.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, July 21, 2014


Canada stands by Israel’s right to defend itself, by itself. Israel will be forced to continue defending itself as long as Hamas continues its rocket attacks against civilians.

“These operations could have been avoided if Hamas had not rejected the Government of Egypt’s ceasefire proposal—a proposal that was accepted by Israel and welcomed by the Palestinian Authority. This proves that Hamas has no interest in peace and bears responsibility for the further tragic loss of life.

Egypt is the best-placed country in the region to help end the current hostilities. It is a historic leader in regional peace efforts, having successfully brokered numerous ceasefire agreements over the years, and Egypt’s ongoing initiative is the only serious ceasefire proposal on the table.
Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, July 17, 2014


We welcome Egyptian efforts to secure a ceasefire agreement. We encourage Egypt to persist with its efforts, and others to work closely together with them.
UK Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant to the Security Council Open Debate on the Middle East, July 22, 2014

We urge Hamas to engage with the ceasefire proposals put forward by the Egyptian government.
Prime Minister David Cameron, July 21, 2014

The Egyptian initiative remains on the table and the objective is ceasefire. Jordan, France and other countries support the initiative. This initiative has been widely supported by the international community and Arab countries. So now we need to ensure that the party that has rejected it accepts the plan to avoid losing more human lives.
Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, July 19, 2014

United Kingdom

I welcome Egypt’s ceasefire initiative. I pay tribute to the Egyptian government for their efforts and the leadership they have shown in attempting to broker a cessation of hostilities.
Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, July 15, 2014


Is Sisi a party (to a ceasefire)? Sisi is a tyrant himself. He added Egypt “could not be relied upon” to broker a peace treaty between Israel and Hamas.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, July 18, 2014

Saudi Arabia & Qatar

Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah Bin Abdel-Aziz expressed support and praise for Egypt’s ceasefire initiative, according to a statement from the Egyptian presidency.
Ihab Badawy, Presidential Spokesperson, July 19, 2014

Qatar has not commented publicly on Egypt’s initiative but the Emir has met with the Saudi king to discuss the ceasefire. According to Reuters, a Saudi source said, “Dealing with issues related to the Palestinians has always and will always be Egypt’s historical role, Qatar will be told to stay out.”

Image: Photo: US Secretary of State John Kerry and Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry sit side-by-side as they meet with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi at the Presidential Palace in Cairo, Egypt, on July 22, 2014, to discuss a possible cease-fire between Israeli and Hamas forces fighting in the Gaza Strip. [State Department photo]