United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrived in Doha, Qatar, from New York on Sunday, 20 July, on the first stop of a visit to the Middle East.
Upon arrival, the Secretary-General met with the Amir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani. The Foreign Minister of Qatar, Khalid Bin Mohamed Al-Attiyah, also participated in the meeting.
Afterwards, the Secretary-General and the Foreign Minister spoke briefly to reporters. Mr. Ban said that he was coming to the region on a journey of “solidarity and peace”.
“Too many innocent civilians are dying,” the Secretary-General said. “Too many people are living in constant fear of the next missile… the next air strike… the next rocket attack.”
He urged for an immediate ceasefire as a first step and then added that one had to address the root causes of the conflict so as to avoid the perpetual cycle of war and perpetual insecurity for all.
The Secretary-General added that all sides need to be assured that international humanitarian law counts — and “there will be accountability and justice for crimes committed by any party”.
Later that evening, the Secretary-General met with President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority, who was also in Doha. The President updated the Secretary-General on the negotiations for a ceasefire in Gaza.
The next morning, the Secretary-General received Børge Brende, the Foreign Minister of Norway.
The Secretary-General and the Foreign Minister updated each other on the various contacts they had regarding the situation in Gaza and the broader Middle East.
The Secretary-General also spoke by phone with John Kerry, United States Secretary of State, before departing Doha for Kuwait, where he arrived mid-morning on Monday, 21 July.