| GEO World|
| Brown urges Gaza truce, says aid getting in|
| Updated at: 2307 PST, Wednesday, December 31, 2008|
LONDON: British Prime Minister Gordon Brown called Wednesday for an urgent ceasefire in Gaza to stem what he called a "humanitarian crisis" there -- although he said some aid was getting in.
"It is vital that moderation must now prevail -- there's a humanitarian crisis," he told reporters, echoing calls for a truce by EU ministers and the so-called Middle East Quartet already this week.
Israel has ruled out a temporary truce in Gaza, saying it would only consider a permanent ceasefire as jets pounded Hamas targets for a fifth day and the Islamists pummelled Israel with rockets.
"I have talked to the prime minister of Israel and had assurances from him that there will be access for humanitarian reasons to get stocks in, to get supplies to people in Gaza and to help with the casualties.
"I have some indication that aid is now getting through," he added.
And he said: "Of course, the second thing we've got to do is secure an immediate and urgent ceasefire ... The Arab League ministers are discussing them now.
"I believe that this is the best opportunity for a ceasefire and for peace. I believe that the various forces involved should seize this opportunity now," he added.
"I believe this offers the best way forward, including the guarantee of humanitarian aid. I urge all the sides involved to seize these opportunities now."