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UNSC backs full implementation of Gaza truce resolution
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The president of the Security Council for January, French UN Ambassador Jean-Maurice Ripert, told reporters at the end of the closed council meeting, at which UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon briefed the 15-member Security Council on his upcoming visit to the Middle East.

The Security Council supports the peace initiatives by Egypt and other countries in the region to strive for an early end to the ongoing conflict in Gaza, which has left more 900 Palestinians killed and more than 4,000 others injured, he said.

Egypt is making great efforts to bring both Israelis and Palestinians into talks aimed at an immediate ceasefire and the withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza, reports said.

Meanwhile, the Security Council also supported a visit to the Middle East by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, he said.

"Everybody supported the role the secretary general can play ...in getting an immediate ceasefire and for implementation of (Security Council) Resolution 1860," Ripert told reporters.

"We think the timing (of Ban's visit) is right. There are very important initiatives on the ground that could help," he added, referring to Egypt's efforts to mediate a ceasefire deal between Israel and Hamas, which ignored the new truce resolution, which calls for an immediate, durable and fully respected ceasefire in Gaza.

The new resolution reflects the unanimous will of the Security Council members and it should be fully observed, he said.

However, "nobody expects the resolution can be implemented in two hours," he said. "We are still thinking that ceasefire is possible."

Earlier Tuesday, Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian permanent observer to the United Nations, told reporters here that the Security Council has the responsibility to bring Israel into full implementation of the new truce resolution, which is legally binding.

The secretary-general kicks off his Middle East tour on Tuesday to press for the implementation of the resolution. He is scheduled to visit Egypt, Jordan, Israel, Palestine, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon and Kuwait to strengthen the joint diplomatic efforts to strive for an early end to the fighting.

At his first press conference for this year on Monday, Ban said, "My goal is to step up the pace of our joint diplomatic efforts and ensure that urgent humanitarian assistance reaches those in need."

At each stop of his week-long Middle East tour, "I will repeat my call for an immediate and durable ceasefire and insist that Security Council Resolution 1860 be respected fully," Ban said. "To repeat, this means an immediate end to military operation in Gaza an end to Israel's offensive and a halt to the rocket attacks by Hamas."

(Xinhua News Agency January 14, 2009)

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