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UK minister to meet Israeli and Palestinian leaders

The minister for the Middle East, Alistair Burt, has started a three day visit to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

His will meet Israel's foreign minister Agigdor Lieberman and Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor as well as Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas.

He will also be briefed on the situation in the Gaza Strip by the UN and a range of NGOs. In a statement, he said:

The UK calls on Hamas, who bear principal responsibility for starting this round of violence, to stop the rocket attacks.

Doing so would bring the violence most quickly to an end.

But there are also responsibilities on Israel ... to do all it can to de-escalate the situation, to minimise civilian casualties and to give mediation efforts a chance to succeed.

– Alistair Burt, uk minister for the middle east