WASHINGTON, Nov 21, 2012 (AFP) -
WASHINGTON, Nov 21, 2012 (AFP) –
US President Barack Obama thanked his Egyptian counterpart Mohamed Morsi on Wednesday for his role is negotiating a planned truce between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza.
“The president thanked President Morsi for his efforts to achieve a sustainable ceasefire and for his personal leadership in negotiating a ceasefire proposal,” the White House said in a statement.
Obama also reaffirmed the “close partnership” between Washington and Cairo, the White House said, adding that the two leaders “agreed on the importance of working toward a more durable solution to the situation in Gaza.”
The ceasefire bid, agreed to by Israel and Hamas and slated to take effect later Wednesday, would end a week of violence in and around the Gaza strip that has left more than 150 people dead.
It came after a day of shuttle diplomacy — led by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon — that was marred by more deadly cross-border violence between Israel and militants in Gaza.
The conflict had threatened to take a new turn on Wednesday when a bomb ripped through a commuter bus in Israel’s commercial capital, injuring 17 people and sparking panic. It prompted Israel to hit back with deadly air raids on Gaza City and elsewhere in the Palestinian territory.
Israel launched its offensive on November 14 with the targeted killing of a Hamas military chief.