US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Saturday night welcomed Israel's decision to declare a unilateral cease-fire in the Gaza Strip. "The United States welcomes the cessation of hostilities in Gaza announced by Israel and expects that all parties will cease attacks and hostile actions immediately," Rice said in a statement. "The goal remains a durable and fully respected ceasefire that will lead to stabilization and normalization in Gaza. Rice also said that the US commended Egypt for its efforts and "remains deeply concerned by the suffering of innocent Palestinians." The US, she said, would "welcome calls for immediate coordinated international action to increase assistance flows and will contribute to such efforts."