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Ban Ki-moon pushes for peace in Mideast


Source: | 01-16-2009 09:51

Special Report:   Israel airstrikes in Gaza

Meanwhile, diplomatic efforts to end the violence in Gaza gathered momentum on Thursday with a visit to the area by the UN Secretary-General.

Ban met with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni in Tel Aviv. Ban said it's time for the violence to stop.

Israel's Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni (R) and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon hold a news conference in Tel Aviv January 15, 2009.REUTERS/Gil Cohen Magen
Israel's Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni (R) and U.N.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon hold a news conference
in Tel Aviv January 15, 2009.REUTERS/Gil Cohen Magen

Ban Ki-Moon, UN Secretary-General, said, "I believe from my talks in Egypt that the elements are in place for this violence to end now. The time has come for the violence to stop and for us to change fundamentally the dynamics in Gaza and to pursue again the peace talks for a two state solution which is the only road for a lasting security for Israel."

Livni was ambiguous about setting a date for a ceasefire. She also blamed Hamas for the heavy civilian death toll during the Israeli offensive.

Ban's visit came as Israeli forces shelled the UN headquarters in the Gaza Strip, setting the compound on fire and injuring at least three people.

Olmert called it a sad incident during his meeting with Ban. But he said the Israeli military had come under attack first from the UN compound.

Ehud Olmert, Israeli Pine Minister, said, "It is absolutely true that we were attacked from that place, but the consequences were very sad and I apologize for that. I don't think it should have happened and I'm very sorry, although as I said the Israeli forces were attacked and as it happened, the response was very harsh and I'm very sorry for the entire event."

Ban expressed outrage over the incident. He said Barak told him there had been a grave mistake, and had promised to pay extra attention to protecting UN installations.


Editor:Zhang Pengfei