Visiting UN Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon on Wednesday renewed his call for an immediate ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, where about 977 Palestinians have been killed in the past 19 days of Israeli offensive against the Palestinian enclave.
"I repeat my call for an immediate and durable ceasefire (in Gaza)," Ban said at a joint press conference with Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit following talks with President Hosni Mubarak.
Mo'aweya Hassanein, emergency chief in Gaza, said on Wednesday morning that 977 Palestinians were killed and 4,500 wounded since the beginning of the Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip on Dec. 27, 2008.
Ban, who arrived in Egypt on Wednesday morning, came to the Middle East as part of the UN efforts to push for the implementation of a UN Security Council resolution on Gaza and help reach a ceasrfire in the coastal strip as soon as possible.
Shortly after his arrival, Ban held talks with President Mubarak and is going to meet senior officials of the Cairo-based Arab League on the Gaza crisis.
Ban is also scheduled to visit Jordan, Israel, the Palestinian territories, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon and Kuwait to strengthen the joint diplomatic efforts to strive for an early end to the Gaza fighting.
(Xinhua News Agency January 14, 2009)