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World leaders convene in Cairo for peace summit to ‘de-escalate’ Israel-Hamas conflict

Leaders and top officials from more than a dozen countries have gathered in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, for a conference to discuss ways to “de-escalate” the Israel-Hamas war amid growing fears of a wider Middle East conflict.

Dubbed the Cairo Summit for Peace, representatives from countries including Jordan, France, Germany, Russia, China, the United Kingdom, the United States, Qatar and South Africa are attending the one-day meeting on Saturday, together with United Nations and European Union officials.

In his opening remarks, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi invited leaders to come to an agreement for a road map to end the “humanitarian catastrophe” in the Gaza Strip and revive a path to peace between Israel and the Palestinians. The plan’s goals included the delivery of aid to Gaza and agreeing to a ceasefire, followed by negotiations leading to a two-state solution, he said.

The absence of any representative from the Israeli side, and any senior US official, has dampened expectations for what the summit can achieve.

The summit takes place as Israel readies a ground assault on Gaza, after weeks of aerial attacks following the October 7 attack by Hamas that killed 1,400 people in Israel. More than 4,200 Palestinians have been killed in Israel’s counteroffensive, amid a growing humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

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