Ban began a tour to Middle East for Gaza ceasefire talks
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon - AFP/Stan Honda
By AYA IBRAHIM

CAIRO: U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon began a tour to the Middle East on Saturday in a bid to end fighting between Israel and Palestinians, Youm7 reported.

“Ban is scheduled to visit Cairo, Doha, Kuwait, Jerusalem, Ramallah, and Amman as part of a tour to the Middle East,” the U.N. announced in a Sunday statement.

Ban will began his visit to the Middle East on Saturday, assistant U.N. Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman said Friday during a session of the Security Council on the Gaza Strip but did not mention any further details.

Qatar is scheduled to host a meeting headed by their Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani between Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Ban Ki-moon on Sunday in an attempt to reach a ceasefire agreement with Israel, a Qatari source told Reuters.

Abbas is likely to meet with Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal following his meeting with Ban Ki-moon in Doha for talks about an immediate truce in Gaza.

“Qatar will not put any pressure on Hamas to bring down, reduce, or change their demands; Qatar is only acting as a communication channel,” the source said. “Qatar presented Hamas’ requests to the international community and the list was presented to France and to the U.N. The talks tomorrow will be to further negotiate these conditions.”

On July 15, Egypt launched an initiative aiming to end the week-old conflict between Gaza and Israel after the beginning of the Israeli military’s operation that took the lives of many Palestinians and injured many more but Hamas rejected the initiative.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said one of the reasons that Hamas rejected the Egyptian initiative is because the Egyptian authorities did not consult with them before announcing their proposal.

Hamas movement is the extension of the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine, with the same ideology and principles of the group, according to an affiliate website, Hamas 25.

According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, about 316 Palestinians were killed and 2,283 were reportedly injured following the initiation of the Israeli offensive on Gaza, which Israel claimed was initially launched against the Palestinian militant group Hamas.

As reported by Youm7, the Egyptian initiative launched by the Foreign Ministry planned to achieve Palestinian ambitions by building an independent state on the borders of 1967 with its capital being East Jerusalem.

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