US Secretary of State John Kerry arrives in Paris July 26, 2014..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Paris on Saturday for talks with several international diplomats as efforts continued to forge a comprehensive cease-fire deal between Israel and Hamas as the sides were due to hold fire during a temporary halt in fighting until 8 p.m.
France was hosting several foreign ministers in Paris on Saturday to coordinate efforts to try and reach an agreement to end the so-far 19 days of fighting between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, a French diplomatic source said.
"In support of initiatives currently under way, most notably Egypt's initiative, our objective is to converge all international efforts so that the conditions of a ceasefire can emerge as quickly as possible," the source said.
The meeting, which was due to start early on Saturday morning, was to be attended by Turkey, Qatar, Germany, Italy, Britain and European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.
There were not be any representatives at this stage from Israel, Hamas or the Palestinian Authority.
Meanwhile, Turkey was reportedly conducting discussions with Israel, Hamas and Egypt as part of efforts to secure a long-term cease-fire between the IDF and the terror organization in Gaza.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu flew to the Gulf state on Friday to assist in cease-fire efforts, AFP reported.
Davutoglu was expected to meet with Doha-based Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal during his trip to Qatar to discuss a proposal for a seven-day lull in fighting, Israel Radio reported.
According to AFP, the Turkish diplomat's decision came after he spoke on Thursday night with his counterparts in the US and Qatar and separately with Palestinian officials.
On Friday, Kerry said that there were still disagreements on the terminology for a Gaza truce and called for a week-long humanitarian ceasefire for the Muslim Eid al-Fitr holiday next week.
Mediators hope that a truce could come into force ahead of the Muslim festival that starts early next week, but they have struggled to resolve seemingly irreconcilable demands from Israel and Hamas-led fighters, locked in conflict since July 8.
Turkish daily Hurriyet
reported on Saturday that the country's Deputy Foreign Minister Feridun Sinirlioğlu was utilizing a channel of communications with an Israeli government advisor for talks with the Jewish state.
Ankara did not divulge details of talks with Cairo, but Hurriyet
cited Davutoglu as saying "contact points" were established.