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UN leader sends out a plea for calm to Israelis and Palestinians

Latest update : 2008-12-29

Ban Ki-Moon used strong words to urge all parties to cease the violence that seems to be spiraling out of control in the Gaza Strip, along the Israeli border.

REUTERS - U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Sunday called for an immediate end to all violence in Gaza, which has been under Israeli assault for two days in retaliation for mortar and rocket attacks from the Hamas-ruled Palestinian territory.

The statement issued through Ban's spokesperson said he had called for calm in talks with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad an other regional leaders. He also spoke with members of the Quartet of Middle East peace negotiators -- the European Union, United States, Russia and United Nations.

As of late Sunday at least 300 Palestinians had been killed in the fighting in the Gaza Strip. The statement said a U.N. relie worker and eight U.N. relief trainees were among the casualties.
The United Nations said Ban "deplores that violence is continuing today and he strongly urges once again an immediate stop to all acts of violence."
The U.N. Security Council earlier had called for an immediate end to all violence in Gaza. Ban underscored the council's call for Israel to open border crossings to Gaza to ensure its residents receive humanitarian supplies.
The U.N.'s humanitarian coordinator in Gaza was told by Israeli officials that relief would be allowed in, the statement said.

Date created : 2008-12-29