Top UN chief expected in Middle East today over Gaza
The UN's top chief will arrive is set to arrive in the Middle East today in the latest effort to end the ongoing violence in the Gaza Strip, according to Agence France Presse Friday.
Under secretary general for political affairs Jeffrey Feltman announced Secretary General Ban Ki Moon's trip during a Security Council meeting on the Gaza crisis Friday, adding that a "[two-state solution to the conflict is the only way to break] the seemingly endless cycle [of Israeli-Palestinian violence]," reported AFP.
"The secretary general is prepared to do his part. He will leave for the region tomorrow [Saturday] to express solidarity with the Israelis and Palestinians," Feltman told the Council.
Ban Ki Moon's visit is hoped to "end the violence and find a way forward," according to Feltman.
"Unless we address the root causes of the current escalation, this dreadful violence will occur again and again. We cannot return to the status quo," he said.
"Once calm is restored it is imperative to immediately tackle the underlying causes," he added, specifically mentioning weapons smuggling, border crossing and Palestinian governance as top issues requring further discussion.
At least 274 Palestinians have been killed in less than two weeks from Israeli airstrikes on the Strip, with 80 percent of the total representing civilian victims.