The UN Security Council is expected to meet behind closed doors on Tuesday morning to hear the briefing by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on his upcoming Middle East tour, diplomats said in New York on Monday.
A Libyan diplomat said that the Security Council is scheduled to meet at 10:00 am (1500 GMT) on Tuesday, when Ban will brief the council on his upcoming visit to region, currently a hot spot where both Israelis and Hamas ignored a Security Council resolution calling for an immediate, durable and fully respected ceasefire.
The council meeting will take place shortly before UN Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon kicks off his Middle East tour to press for the implementation of the resolution. More than 900 Palestinians were killed and 4,000 others injured as the fighting entered its 17th day on Monday.
Earlier Monday, Ban told his first press conference in 2009 that he is scheduled to leave Tuesday for a visit to Egypt, Jordan, Israel, Palestine, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon and Kuwait to strengthen the joint diplomatic efforts to strive for an early end to the fighting.
Also at the press conference, Ban demanded an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, saying "both sides must stop the fighting now" because "too many people have died."
(Xinhua News Agency January 13, 2009)