Kerry meets with UN, Egypt as Gaza truce push builds

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon (left) makes a statement regarding the violence in Gaza before his meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry in Cairo on July 24, 2014. Mr Kerry huddled on Friday with Mr Ban and Egypt's foreign minister as p
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon (left) makes a statement regarding the violence in Gaza before his meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry in Cairo on July 24, 2014. Mr Kerry huddled on Friday with Mr Ban and Egypt's foreign minister as pressure built for a ceasefire in Gaza. -- PHOTO: AFP 

CAIRO (AFP) - US Secretary of State John Kerry huddled on Friday with UN chief Ban Ki Moon and Egypt's foreign minister as pressure built for a ceasefire in Gaza.

Mr Kerry, who spent another night in Cairo reaching out by telephone to regional officials, met Mr Ban and Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukri for around half an hour.

The top US diplomat has said he would speak to reporters later on Friday, on what could be the end of his week-long mission to the region.

The United States has worked with Egypt on a plan that, diplomats say, would provide a humanitarian pause in the deadly Israel-Hamas conflict ahead of talks on key issues.

US officials said that Mr Kerry has spoken repeatedly by telephone with the foreign ministers of Qatar and Turkey, which are seen as influential over Hamas.

The Islamist militant movement that controls the Gaza Strip initially refused a ceasefire, instead showering Israel with rockets.

The 18-day conflict has killed more than 845 people, most of them Palestinian civilians.