New UK Foreign Secretary Lammy backs ‘immediate ceasefire,’ hostage release in Gaza

Labour's landslide election victory not expected to drastically change UK's positions regarding Israel-Hamas war

Incoming Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs David Lammy arrives at Downing Street in London, Friday, July 5, 2024. (AP Photo/Thomas Krych)

LONDON — Britain’s newly appointed Foreign Secretary David Lammy reiterated his support Friday for international efforts to secure an “immediate ceasefire” in the Israel-Hamas war and for the release of remaining hostages.

Lammy, 51, said he would “get to work with tireless diplomacy” toward those twin aims, in his first comments after becoming the country’s top diplomat.

New Labour Prime Minister Keir Starmer had confirmed Lammy — the party’s spokesperson on foreign affairs since 2021 — in the post hours earlier, following Labour’s landslide victory in the UK general election held Thursday.

“All of us recognize the agony of communities who have seen the scenes coming out of Israel and Gaza,” Lammy said from the Foreign Office.

“But the job now is to get to work with tireless diplomacy to support an immediate ceasefire and move towards getting those hostages out.”

Lammy, who replaced Conservative David Cameron as foreign secretary, added that he will “do all I can diplomatically” to support US President Joe Biden’s efforts to secure the ceasefire.

Biden announced a pathway to a truce deal in May that he said had been proposed by Israel. It included an initial six-week truce, Israeli withdrawal from Gaza population centers and the freeing of hostages by Palestinian terrorists.

Israel’s spy chief was in Qatar on Friday for the latest effort to seal a deal and free hostages held by terror groups, almost nine months into the Israel-Hamas war.

The UK government under Starmer’s predecessor Rishi Sunak has supported the US-led efforts, and Labour regaining power is not expected to represent a shift in London’s policy toward the conflict that erupted when Hamas-led terrorists stormed into Israel on October 7, killing some 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and taking 251 hostages.

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