United Nations, July 23 IANS | 4 months ago

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Tuesday that he believed his talks with world leaders will lead to an end to the ongoing fighting between Israel and Hamas "in the very near future".

Ban made the remarks when he briefed the UN Security Council on the Gaza situation Tuesday morning via video conference from Ramallah in the West Bank, the fifth stop on his journey that has so far included Qatar, Kuwait, Egypt and Israel, reports Xinhua.

"I have had intensive and fruitful discussions with the leadership in all countries. I also had a very meaningful meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Qatar -- and US Secretary of State John Kerry -- as well as Secretary General of the League of Arab States Nabil ElArabi -- in Cairo late last night," he told the 15-nation body.

Ban said that he could not publicly reveal the details "at this highly sensitive moment".

"Suffice it to say that it is my hope and belief that these talks will lead to results and an end to the fighting in the very near future," he said.

However, the UN chief noted that "of course, there are many obstacles and complexities", adding that he has carried "a three- part message... First, stop the fighting. Second, start the dialogue. Third, tackle the root causes."

Ban also stressed that a ceasefire without addressing the deeper issues of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will "merely delay it for yet another time".

"The cycle will continue -- except the bitterness and hatred will become that much more entrenched each time it comes around," he said. "Quite simply, if a people is left with despair and occupation, the problem won't disappear, it will only grow."

Ban said the most promising prospect of a ceasefire comes in the form of the initiative put forward by Egypt on the basis of the November 2012 understanding on a ceasefire, which has garnered the support of the Palestinian's Abbas and the League of Arab States.

"Unfortunately, Hamas has yet to respond positively," he added. "I encourage all those with influence to urge constructive action. "

According to his spokesperson, the UN secretary general will continue on to Jordan and Saudi Arabia, and other countries as needed.

Fresh rounds of Israeli bombardment against the Gaza Strip killed eight Palestinians and wounded 10 others, according to an official.

Ashraf al-Qedra, health ministry spokesperson in Gaza, told reporters that six Gazans were killed and 10 wounded in separate airstrikes carried out by Israeli war jets and tanks on various areas in the Gaza Strip.

He said that 60 Palestinians were killed Tuesday, adding that the death toll since the beginning of the Israeli war on the Gaza Strip July 8, topped 617 dead and 3,750 wounded, most of whom were civilians.

(Posted on 23-07-2014)

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