Hope for Israel-Hamas ceasefire emerging: UN

January 8th, 2009 - 5:04 am ICT by IANS  

New York, Jan 7 (DPA) The search for a sustainable Israel-Hamas ceasefire in the Gaza Strip was emerging as countries engaged in resolving the conflict were reaching a consensus, a UN official said Wednesday.”It seems that the elements for a way out of this crisis are emerging, but more work needs to be done quickly to flesh out a package and secure a buy-in of the crucial players,” Robert Serry, the UN coordinator for the Middle East peace process said at UN headquarters in New York.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was hoping for a ceasefire to be declared before he begins a trip to several Middle East nations Monday, Serry said.

Ban announced that he would visit Israel, the Palestinian territories and several Arab capitals. The week-long trip will help him gain first-hand information on the Gaza crisis.

Serry said the elements of the ceasefire include a “viable mechanism” for monitoring the reopening of crossings into Gaza and strong support for international monitors, a “massive” humanitarian plan to reconstruct Gaza and a new dialogue to reach a political settlement.

“Bandage solutions” for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are unacceptable, the UN official said, reiterating that governments have been demanding that the Palestinian Authority, under President Mahmoud Abbas, regains control of Gaza and that Gaza be reunified with the West Bank.

A debate on the crisis in Gaza in the UN Security Council resumed Wednesday. The 15-nation council convened an emergency session late Tuesday to hear envoys from 25 countries, including 14 foreign ministers.

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