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UK’s Sunak urges ‘specific pauses’ in Israel-Hamas war, stops short of ceasefire

UK’s Sunak urges ‘specific pauses’ in Israel-Hamas war, stops short of ceasefire

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LONDON — Rishi Sunak called for “specific pauses” in the conflict between Israel and Hamas to allow for humanitarian aid to reach Gaza, but distinguished that from broader demands for a ceasefire.

Speaking at prime minister’s questions in the House of Commons Sunak Wednesday, Sunak said the U.K. wants hostages held by Hamas militants to be released “and for humanitarian aid to get in — and we recognize for all of that to happen there has to be a safer environment which of course necessitates specific pauses as distinct from a ceasefire.”

Speaking later to journalists, Sunak’s official spokesperson said: “There needs to be a level of security for aid workers to enter [Gaza for] humanitarian relief to be distributed, and the best way to continue to achieve that is being discussed.”

The statement from Sunak appears to align the U.K. with the United States.

Speaking at the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said Israel “must take all possible precautions to avoid harm to civilians,” and that “essential humanitarian assistance must be able to flow into Gaza and to the people who need them.”

This, he said, “means humanitarian pauses must be considered for these purposes.”

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