Ban Ki-moon's speeches

Opening remarks to the press with the Foreign Minister of Eqypt

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Cairo (Egypt), 21 July 2014

Assalamu Alaikum. Good evening.

I am very pleased to visit Egypt as again as SG and I am very much pleased to visit Egypt so soon after the inauguration of President [Abdel Fattah Al] Sisi as President of Egypt and also [Foreign] Minister [Sameh Hassan] Shokry [Selim]. We have known each other a long time and I am very pleased to work together with Minister Shokry.

Egypt is a strong partner, traditionally, since the beginning of this Organization, and we depend a lot on Egypt. Egypt is a regional and global power in peace and security, development, and human rights. And we appreciate and commend their contribution to the United Nations’ goals and objectives.

This time, I am visiting Egypt with a single purpose of helping Egypt’s diplomatic efforts to bring an end to this violence which is now happening in the Middle East.

I have been in this country just a few hours, but I have had very good discussions with Minister Shokry on how the United Nations can help the Egyptian initiative to bring an end to this violence.

I am in support of Mr. Minister, your, and President Sisi’s efforts to stop the fighting in Gaza and the rocket attacks in Israel. I am grateful for the Government of Egypt’s leadership in mediating a durable peace.

This is a time of profound challenge in the region.

Yet again, too many civilians, including so many children, are paying the price for the latest escalation.

The images we see sear the soul.

I urge all parties to rally behind collective international efforts to end the fighting. That is why I am here in Cairo.

I carry two important messages.

The first: The violence must stop – it must stop now.

All sides must provide the necessary space to aid the victims, assist the wounded, and extend the relief to trapped civilians. These immediate steps should open the door to a more permanent ceasefire.

Second, we cannot claim victory by simply returning matters to where they stood before the latest terrible bloodshed.

Going back to the status quo ante won’t solve the problem, it will only defer it for another day.

It will not stop the bloodshed, it will make it even worse the next time the cycle rolls over the people of Gaza and plagues the people of Israel.

Gaza is an open wound and Band Aids won’t help.

There must be a plan after the aftermath that allows Gaza to breathe and heal.

Recovery and reconstruction is more needed than ever.

The United Nations will continue to support these efforts.

I am so proud that many UN workers, with UNRWA in the lead, [are] helping the population of Gaza under such dramatic circumstances.

I am grateful and happy to see that you have opened the Rafah crossing for urgent humanitarian relief. I hope you will continue to open this Rafah crossing.

The needs and demands are rising dramatically. There are now well over 80,000 Palestinians seeking life-saving shelter and relief in UNRWA schools. That is almost 5 percent of the entire population.

Countries cannot build a future if their people must continually run for cover.

Palestinians and Israelis deserve freedom – freedom from siege, rockets, missiles, artillery and airstrikes.

They deserve a future of hope, peace and justice.

I will continue to support all efforts to build that future.

We must find answers – lasting solutions – guided by a sense of compassion and our common humanity.

Thank you. Shukran.