No time to lose to reach ceasefire: Ban

January 16th, 2009 - 6:49 pm ICT by IANS  

Ramallah, Jan 16 (Xinhua) Visiting UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Friday said in the West Bank City of Ramallah that there was “no time to lose to reach cease fire” in the Gaza strip. During a joint news conference with Palestinian National Authority (PNA) Prime Minister Salaam Fayyad, Ban said the casualties and the humanitarian situation in Gaza were “unbearable” and called for an immediate halt to fighting.

It’s close to reach an agreement of ceasefire, Ban said, adding that there was “no time to lose” for an immediate halt of the military operations in Gaza.

He said he understood that the Palestinian people have experienced very difficult time and suffered from the fighting in Gaza.

Ban, who arrived in the Palestinian territories earlier Friday, was promoting a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas that would end the 21-day Israeli forces operation in the Hamas-ruled coastal enclave, which has so far killed more than 1,100 Palestinians.

Ban stressed that a durable, sustainable and respectable ceasefire should be achieved by all sides, adding that the United Nations and himself are working hard on it.

He also urged PNA to work with the international community to achieve the ceasefire and promised to provide “all the necessary technical assistance for unity”.

He emphasised that “what we have to do is to achieve a durable, long-lasting and sustainable cease fire”, so that “the Palestinian and Israeli people can live side by side in peace.”

Ban’s week-long Middle East tour came as part of the UN efforts to push for the implementation of the latest UN Security Council resolution on Gaza. On Jan 8, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1860, calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza ” leading to the full withdrawal of Israeli forces.”

Before the trip to the Palestinian territories, the UN chief visited Egypt, Jordan and Israel. He is also scheduled to visit Turkey, Syria, Lebanon and Kuwait to strengthen the joint diplomatic efforts to strive for an early end to the Gaza fighting.

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