UNITED NATIONS: UN chief Ban Ki-moon will meet Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas as part of a growing push for a Gaza war ceasefire, his spokesman said Monday.
"The secretary general wishes to add his diplomatic weight to these efforts, which are considerable and extremely important," UN spokesman Martin Nesirky told reporters from Cairo, where Ban arrived Monday.
Ban was to meet Egypt's Foreign Minister Mohammed Kamel Amr on Monday night, and President Mohamed Morsi and Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi on Tuesday, Nesirky said.
Ban would then go on to Jerusalem and the Palestinian talks but had no plan to go to Gaza, Nesirky added. He gave no dates for the talks.
Morsi has been leading Arab efforts to halt the Gaza conflict. Ban "has travelled to the region to add his support to the Egyptian-led efforts to reach an immediate ceasefire," said Nesirky.
Ban engaged in similar shuttle diplomacy when Israel launched a previous military onslaught against Gaza in early 2009. The UN leader has condemned rocket attacks into Israel from Gaza and called on Israel to show restraint.
"This violence, this bloodshed, is not doing anything to bring about greater security for Palestinians or for Israelis and it makes it even harder for there to be negotiations through the Middle East peace process," said Nesirky. (AFP)