August 5th, 2014 14:24 EST
UN Chief Ban Praises Ceasefire Between Israel and Hamas
Following the announcement yesterday of a ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian factions, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged all parties to commence talks in Cairo for a durable peace.
Both Israelis and Palestinians must address underlying issues that continue to cause outbreaks of conflict, said Mr. Ban in a statement issued by a spokesperson at UN Headquarters.
He welcomed the proactive engagement of the Palestinian delegation under the leadership of President Mahmoud Abbas, saying such talks are the only way to sustainably stop the violence, which has cost far too many lives, and to change the untenable and tragic status quo in Gaza. "
The Secretary-General also welcomed the efforts that led to the new ceasefire and commended all parties for committing to the 72-hour halt in fighting, which began today at 8 a.m. local time. Everyone must abide by this new agreement, he added.
Since the start of the conflict on 7 July, at least 1,777 Palestinians have been killed, about 85 per cent of them civilians, according to figures released on Monday by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). That figure includes 393 children and 208 women.
At least 66 Israelis have been killed, including two civilians and 64 soldiers, as well as one foreign national in Gaza.
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