Statement by Jean-Yves Le Drian – Cessation of hostilities (21 May 2021)
I welcome the cessation of hostilities which occurred overnight, interrupting a cycle of violence with a heavy human toll for the civilian populations.
This unconditional cessation of hostilities with immediate effect is the result of the collective diplomatic efforts of the Europeans, Americans and several Arab countries. We played our full part in it by coordinating our bilateral efforts, particularly with the United States, Egypt and Jordan, and contributing to the pressure to achieve this result, especially at the Security Council. I pay tribute in particular to Egypt’s fundamental role in enabling the weapons to fall silent.
As we’ve said publicly and in all our diplomatic efforts in recent days, a cessation of hostilities was the absolute priority in order to protect civilians and prevent the conflict deteriorating and spreading. The truce – which has so far been respected – must be prolonged through lasting ceasefire arrangements. It must enable a humanitarian re-engagement to meet the needs of the population, particularly in Gaza. And it must be accompanied by a calming of tension throughout the Palestinian Territories and in Israel.
Finally, the escalation of recent days underlines the need for a genuine political process to be relaunched between the parties with the appropriate international support; without this, we know the cycles of violence will recur. France is determined to play its full role in these efforts, in conjunction with its international partners.