Gaza Cease-fire on the Agenda as Kerry, EU Ministers Meet

French and U.K. foreign ministers call for return to cease-fire of November 2012; Kerry may ask Iran to halt arms shipments to Iran, says U.S. official.

Barak Ravid
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Kerry, left, and German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier in Vienna.Credit: AP
Barak Ravid

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is due to meet with his French, German and British counterparts on Sunday evening to discuss the attempts to promote a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

The meeting will take place in Vienna, where the ministers are attending nuclear talks with Iran.

On his arrival at the Palais Coburg in Vienna on Sunday, where the talks are taking place, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said that achieving a cease-fire and avoiding a further escalation in Gaza are the issues at the top of France's agenda.

"France is calling for a return to the ceasefire of November 2012," Fabius told reporters.

Speaking earlier, British Foreign Minister William Hague said that "there is an urgent need to stop the violence in Gaza and return to the cease-fire of November 2012."

Addressing reporters before the arrival of the ministers in Vienna, a senior American official said that discussions about the situation in Gaza would take place on the fringes of the Iranian negotiations.

He even hinted that Kerry would demand a halt to Iranian arms shipments to Hamas and the other terror groups in Gaza during his meeting with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif.

"Iran has a long-standing record of supplying weapons, rockets to various terrorist groups in Gaza, including Hamas, (and) those rockets are being used to fire at civilian areas," the official said.

"Iran has a responsibility to cease and desist from continuing to supply weapons of war there fuelling this conflict and any opportunity that we get to communicate that message to them we will take."