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Foreign ministry statement Swiss support independent probe after Gaza clashes

Israeli troops guarding border

Israeli troops guarding the border on Friday 

(Keystone)

The latest escalation of the situation in Gaza shows that peace negotiations should be revitalised, Switzerland says. The country supports the United Nation’s call for an independent investigation after major violence in the region.

“Switzerland is very concerned by the clashes between Palestinian participants in the ‘Great Return March’ and Israeli security forces. It calls on both sides to contribute to a de-escalation,” said a statementexternal link released by the Swiss foreign ministry on Saturday morning.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for "an independent and transparent investigation" into the violence on Friday, which was the bloodiest day in Gaza since the 2014 cross-border war.

The UN Security Council condemned the violence after an emergency session on Friday evening.

Fifteen people were killed and more than 750 wounded by Israeli fire as thousands of Palestinian protesters marched to Gaza's border with Israel, the Palestinian Health Ministry said. The protest is the start of an announced six weeks' of action, and comes ahead of the 70th anniversary of the founding of Israel.

The Israeli military said that thousands of Palestinians threw stones and rolled burning tyres toward troops, that Palestinian gunmen fired toward soldiers in one incident and that militants were trying to conduct attacks under the cover of protests.

Switzerland said it supported the call for an independent investigation, adding that the situation showed “the necessity for revitalising peace negotiations”.

“Switzerland is committed to a just and lasting peace through a negotiated solution based on a two-state solution,” the statement said. It added that efforts towards inter-Palestinian reconciliation should also be renewed.

Swiss foreign ministry/AP/ilj

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