Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah al-Sisi pledged on Saturday to work together to agree a ceasefire in Israel’s war with Hamas in the Gaza Strip, a presidency spokesman announced in Cairo.

Messrs. Sisi and Putin discussed developments in the region, especially the situation in the Gaza Strip, according to Ahmed Fahmi.

“They agreed to continue to act (…) in order to achieve a ceasefire, stressing the urgent need for the international community to assume its responsibilities in this regard,” according to a press release – written in English – released by the representative of the Egyptian presidency Fahmi.

The conference of the presidents followed the failure of the attempt to approve by the UN Security Council a draft resolution calling for an immediate declaration of a humanitarian ceasefire, after the US vetoed it.

Egypt—the first Arab country to sign a peace agreement with Israel (1979), is concerned about the possibility of a mass exodus of Gazans and the reception of hundreds of thousands of refugees. President Sisi has repeatedly said he opposes the forced displacement of Palestinians in the Sinai desert — something some Israeli politicians have suggested, though it is not a declared goal of the government.

The war casts a heavy shadow over the presidential elections that begin today in Egypt. Most political observers expect President Sisi to secure a third consecutive term, despite growing discontent over the country’s economic woes.

The late field marshal, formerly chief of the national defense general staff, has been ruling Egypt since elected president Mohamed Morsi (2012-2013) was overthrown in a military coup. Elected president in 2014, re-elected in 2018. Puto