WASHINGTON, June 18 (Xinhua) -- The United States
welcomed on Wednesday the Gaza ceasefire deal between Israel and the Palestinian
Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas), saying it is a "positive" development.
"Anything that helps maintain security for Israeli
citizens, that helps end the kind of violence that has been fairly constant
along the border with Gaza is something that's positive," State Department
deputy spokesman Tom Casey told reporters.
The ceasefire in Gaza "will be more conducive to an
environment that will permit negotiations to continue to move forward between
Israelis and Palestinians. So, in that sense, it's good news that this has taken
place," Casey said.
The spokesman also praised Egypt's efforts to broker
such a truce. "We certainly support the efforts that Egypt has made to help
ensure that this truce or calm, or whatever word is being used for it today,
Prior to Casey's remarks, the White House expressed
hope that the Gaza ceasefire deal would force Hamas to "give up terrorism."
"We hope this means no more rockets will be fired by
Hamas at innocent Israelis as well as lead to a better atmosphere for talks
between Israel and the Palestinian Authority," said U.S. National Security
Council spokesperson Gordon Johndroe.
Israel on Wednesday officially confirmed an
Egyptian-brokered truce with Hamas-led Palestinian militant groups in the Gaza
Strip, starting at 6:00 a.m. (0300 GMT) Thursday.