United Nations, July 22 :
UN Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon arrived in Cairo Monday in a bid to push for a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, which he stressed was “not enough” for a durable Middle East peace, a UN spokesperson said.
“The secretary-general is there to support the efforts to stop the fighting in Gaza, and the rocket attacks in Israel,” Xinhua quoted Ban’s spokesperson Stephane Dujarric as telling reporters here at the daily briefing via telephone from the Egyptian capital.
“He is expected to meet with the Egyptian president and foreign minister as part of his continuing effort to obtain an immediate ceasefire in Israel and Gaza,” said Dujarric.
According to him, the UN chief is also scheduled to meet in Cairo with the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, as well as US Secretary of State John Kerry, who is expected to arrive Monday night.
“I think the overriding messages that he brings is, first, that the violence must stop, and needs to stop now,” Dujarric said.
However, the spokesperson noted that Ban called for an immediate ceasefire as “a first step”. He also quoted the UN chief as saying that one had to address the root causes of the conflict so as to avoid the perpetual cycle of war and perpetual insecurity for all.
“Going back to the situation before won’t solve the problem, but only defer it, renew violence for another day. And the secretary-general will stress that there is a need for a plan on the aftermath to allow Gaza to breathe and heal and focus on recovery and reconstruction,” said Dujarric.
The UN secretary-general arrived in Cairo earlier Monday from Kuwait, where he held meetings with the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, according to Dujarric.
“The secretary-general thanked the Amir for his leadership role in the Arab League, and told the Amir that he was in the region to promote a ceasefire but stressed that a ceasefire was not enough and that the root causes of the conflict also had to be addressed, ” Dujarric told reporters.
Gaza-based medical sources said Monday that since July 8, the Israeli army has killed a total of 509 Palestinians, while some 3,300 others were wounded, adding that two-thirds of the victims are civilians, including women and children.