The Straits Times
Published on Nov 17, 2012

Ban to head to Gaza war region on truce mission


UNITED NATIONS (AFP) - United Nations (UN) leader Ban Ki Moon will visit the Gaza war region within days to push for a truce between Israel and Hamas as their conflict veers toward all-out war, officials said on Friday.

UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said Mr Ban will go to the region "shortly" to "push for an end to violence" and Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas said the UN Secretary-General would visit the Palestinian territories in "two or three days." Mr Ban will be in Jerusalem on Tuesday or Wednesday, according to UN Diplomats and Israeli media.

"Ban went to the region during the last Israeli offensive against Gaza in 2009 and worked hard to end that conflict. He is looking to produce a truce and ceasefire this time as well," said one senior UN diplomat.

Mr Ban has already spoken to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to urge restraint, while also strongly condemning the rocket attacks from Gaza that Israel blames for its air strikes and its military buildup around the besieged Palestinian territory.