UN's Ban chides world leaders over Israel violence

The U.N. chief said he was deeply alarmed by the rising violence in Gaza, adding, "This is unacceptable."

UN's Ban chides world leaders over Israel violence

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon chided world leaders on Monday for not doing enough to halt an unacceptable level of violence in Gaza and press for a long-term political solution.

In his third statement in three days on Gaza, where Israeli air strikes have killed more than 325 Palestinians, Ban again called for an immediate ceasefire by both sides.

At a news conference, "I think regional and international partners have not done enough. They should do more," Ban said. "They should use all possible means to end the violence and encourage political dialogue, emphasizing peaceful ways of resolving differences."

Arab League foreign ministers are due to meet on Wednesday in Egypt to try to agree a common position on Gaza.

"I urge them to act swiftly and decisively to bring an early end to this impasse," Ban said. "At the same time, other world leaders must also step up efforts to support a longer term resolution of the issue."

The U.N. chief said he was deeply alarmed by the rising violence in Gaza, adding, "This is unacceptable."

"All this must stop. Both Israel and Hamas must halt their acts of violence and take all necessary measures to avoid civilian casualties. A ceasefire must be declared immediately. They must also curb their inflammatory rhetoric.

"Only then can dialogue start."

"Certain practical things"

Egyptian Ambassador Maged Abdelaziz rejected suggestions that Arab states had been inactive, saying he did not know what kind of action Ban had in mind.

"I am sure that there will be swift and decisive actions from the part of the Arab League," which would "do whatever it takes" to implement any agreement that was reached after a ceasefire, he told reporters.

Abdelaziz and three other Arab ambassadors told journalists they had just met Ban and Security Council president Neven Jurica, Croatia's ambassador, to press for implementation of a council statement on Sunday demanding a ceasefire.

Palestinian Ambassador Riyad Mansour said the Arab envoys had been promised that "certain practical things" would be done. He gave no details but said he hoped Israel would be "brought into compliance" within 24 hours. Israeli military leaders have said their attacks may go on for some time.

U.N. humanitarian chief John Holmes said while some relief supplies were going into Gaza, with 60 truckloads entering on Monday, that was "wholly inadequate," as about 100 truckloads a day of flour or grain alone were needed.

Stocks of fuel were "more or less zero," meaning Gaza's power plant might have to shut down at any time, while medical supplies were just about enough to cope, Holmes said.


Reuters

Last Mod: 30 Aralık 2008, 15:11
Add Comment