Brown calls for Gaza ceasefire

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The Independent Online

Prime Minister Gordon Brown today called for an urgent ceasefire amid the "humanitarian crisis" in Gaza.

He said aid was now getting through to the Palestinian territory, which has been pounded by five days of Israeli air strikes.

Mr Brown said: "It is vital that moderation must now prevail - there's a humanitarian crisis."

The Prime Minister's comments were made as international pressure grew for a ceasefire in Gaza, where hundreds of people have been killed.

Mr Brown said: "I have talked to the prime minister of Israel and had assurances from him that there will be access for humanitarian reasons to get stocks in, to get supplies to people in Gaza and to help with the casualties.

"We have now set aside $10m of aid so that will happen.

"I have some indication that aid is now getting through.

"Of course, the second thing we've got to do is secure an immediate and urgent ceasefire."

The Prime Minister said he had talked to leaders on both sides about a set of proposals put forward for the Palestinian territory.

Mr Brown continued: "The Arab League ministers are discussing them now.

"I believe that this is the best opportunity for a ceasefire and for peace.

"I believe that the various forces involved should seize this opportunity now."

The Prime Minister added: "I believe this offers the best way forward, including the guarantee of humanitarian aid.

"I urge all the sides involved to seize these opportunities now."