MOSCOW, July 21 (RIA Novosti) – UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Qatar during the first leg of his Middle East tour and again stressed the need for a ceasefire, the organization said in a statement.
“As I travel the region, I will continue to press for an [immediate] ceasefire – an immediate end to the Israeli military operation in Gaza and the rocket fire by Hamas and Islamic Jihad,” Mr. Ban told a press conference Sunday alongside Qatari Foreign Minister Khaled al-Attiya.
The UN chief has called on the sides to respect international humanitarian law and put and stop the ongoing violence.
“While I was en route to Doha, dozens more civilians, including children, have been killed in Israeli military strikes in the Shejaiyah neighborhood in Gaza,” Mr. Ban said. “I condemn this atrocious action. Israel must exercise maximum restraint and do far more to protect civilians.”
“Israelis, but also Palestinians, need to feel a sense of security,” Mr. Ban said at today's press conference. “Palestinians, but also Israelis, need to see a horizon of hope.”
The UN Security Council is to hold an urgent meeting late on Sunday to discuss the situation in Gaza, a spokesman for the Russian permanent mission to the international organization told RIA Novosti.
On July 8, Israel started its Operation Protective Edge targeting the Hamas movement, which controls the region and its allied groups of Palestinian rebels. Ten days later, the Israeli army switched to a ground offensive aimed at destroying underground tunnels dug by rebels to secretly enter the Israeli territory.