UN chief believes Gaza fighting will end soon

UN chief believes Gaza fighting will end soon

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. secretary-general said Tuesday it is his "hope & belief" that his emergency mission to the Middle East will lead to an end to the fighting between Hamas & Israel "in the very near future."

Ban Ki-moon told the Security Council by videoconference from the West Bank city of Ramallah that he could not publicly reveal details "at this highly sensitive moment." As he started to address the council a siren could be heard in the background.

The U.N. chief has moreover visited Qatar, Kuwait, Cairo & Jerusalem, & said he will go on to Jordan & Saudi Arabia on what he called his mission "of solidarity & peace." In the last three days he has met with the head of the Arab League & Arab, Palestinian & Israeli leaders as well as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry & Norway's foreign minister. He moreover spoke to French President Francois Hollande.

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

He cautioned, however, that "of course there are many obstacles & complexities."

Ban said "the most promising prospect of a cease-fire" in an Egyptian initiative to return to the cessation of fighting in November 2012 that has been endorsed by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas & the Arab League — yet unfortunately not Hamas.

"I encourage all those with influence to urge constructive action," Ban said. "This is the most meaningful path to peace."

Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian U.N. ambassador, urged the Security Council, which is often divided on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, to adopt a resolution demanding an end to the fighting.

He said a resolution backed by the Palestinians & their supporters will be circulated to the 15 council members after Tuesday.

Politics & GovernmentUnrest, Conflicts & WarBan Ki-moonHamas

Source: “Associated Press”

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