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UN Chief to Visit Middle East in Peace Push

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will fly to the Middle East on Saturday in an effort to end the latest violence in Gaza.
By Elad Benari, Canada
First Publish: 7/19/2014, 1:31 AM

Ban Ki-moon
Ban Ki-moon
Reuters

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will fly to the Middle East on Saturday in an effort to end the latest violence in Gaza, a top official told the Security Council on Friday, according to AFP.

Under secretary general for political affairs Jeffrey Feltman said a two-state solution to the conflict was the only way to break the "seemingly endless cycle" violence.

"The secretary general is prepared to do his part. He will leave for the region tomorrow to express solidarity with the Israelis and Palestinians," Feltman was quoted as having told emergency talks at the Council.

The UN chief's visit will help Israelis and Palestinian Arabs "in coordination with regional and international actors, end the violence and find a way forward," Feltman said.

The senior official reiterated UN calls for an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.

"Unless we address the root causes of the current escalation this dreadful violence will occur again and again. We cannot return to the status quo," he said, according to AFP.

"Once calm is restored it is imperative to immediately tackle the underlying causes," he added.

On Thursday, Ban urged Israel to "do far more" to spare civilians after it launched a ground offensive in Gaza.

"I regret that despite my repeated urgings, and those of many regional and world leaders together, an already dangerous conflict has now escalated even further," Ban told reporters.

"I urge Israel to do far more to stop civilian casualties. There can be no military solution to this conflict," he added.

Earlier in the week, the UN chief urged Israel to scrap plans for a ground operation in Gaza, saying that "too many" Palestinian Arab civilians have been killed.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)