UN Secretary-General Guterres welcomes Israel-Hamas agreement to release hostages in Gaza

UN Secretary-General Guterres welcomes Israel-Hamas agreement to release hostages in Gaza

United Nations, Nov 22 (PTI) UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday welcomed the agreement reached by Israel and Hamas to release hostages in Gaza, describing it as an “important step in the right direction” but said that much more needs to be done.

Israel and Hamas agreed on Wednesday to a temporary four-day ceasefire to allow the release of 50 hostages held by the militant group in Gaza in exchange for 150 Palestinian detainees and the entry of humanitarian aid into the besieged territory.

The deal, once implemented at 10 am onwards on Thursday, will be the first major diplomatic breakthrough and pause in fighting since the war began after Hamas attacked Israel on October 7.

In a statement issued here, Guterres welcomed the agreement reached by Israel and Hamas, with the mediation of Qatar supported by Egypt and the United States.

“This is an important step in the right direction, but much more needs to be done,” the UN chief said.

“The United Nations will mobilise all its capacities to support the implementation of the agreement and maximize its positive impact on the humanitarian situation in Gaza,” Guterres added.

UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland also welcomed the announcements of a deal to secure the release of hostages abducted by Hamas and others during the “horrific” attacks on October 7.

Wennesland welcomed the announcement of the 4-day humanitarian pause in Gaza, saying this pause must be used to its fullest extent to facilitate the release of hostages and alleviate the dire needs of Palestinians in Gaza.

He stressed that all parties must live up to their responsibilities to uphold this important agreement.

“This is an important step, but more must be done and I will continue all efforts to bring the suffering to an end,” he said.

Wennesland further underlined that it is critical that “we see safe access and a continuous flow of humanitarian aid to all those in need.” He voiced appreciation for the efforts of the Governments of Egypt, Qatar, and the United States for facilitating the agreement. PTI YAS RUP RUP

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