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Diplomatic efforts ramp up, as Gaza bleeds

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Diplomatic efforts ramp up, as Gaza bleeds

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Nicolas Sarkozy says he has some hope for a ceasefire in Gaza, and is returning to Egypt to work out the details of a peace plan. On the French President’s peace-brokering tour of the region, he has stopped in Jordan, Egypt and Israel. In Damascus, he urged the Syrian President to put pressure on Hamas to make sure any truce holds.

In Israel, at talks with the country’s leaders, it seems he was no less emphatic. “I told them there is no military solution to Gaza,” President Sarkozy said. “I told them that the violence must end and I told them everything possible must be done to allow humanitarian relief to arrive in Gaza,” he said. Though other international diplomacy efforts have also been stepped up, there is some hard bargaining in store. Israel says preventing a new Hamas arms build- up would be essential for any new truce. It wants Egypt to put an end to arms smuggling into Gaza over its border. And it wants Hamas rival Fatah in control. At the UN, Arab countries are drafting a Security Council resolution demanding an immediate end to Israeli aggression in Gaza. The Council was last week blocked from issuing a statement. 40.00 UN 55.00 Ends.