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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Off-the-Cuff

Secretary-General's remarks at press conference with U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, and Foreign Minister of Egypt, Sameh Hassan Shokry Selim, and Nabil Elaraby, Secretary-General of the League of Arab States

Cairo, Egypt, 25 July 2014

Thank you, Foreign Minister Sameh Shokry of Egypt; Secretary of State of the United States, John Kerry; League of Arab States Secretary-General [Nabil] Elaraby; Ladies and Gentlemen -- 

Good evening. Salaam aleikum. Ramadan karim.

Let me begin by commending all the leaders here today. I would like to particularly thank President [Abdel Fattah] Al Sisi of Egypt, and Foreign Minister Shokry, as host of this initiative to have made ceaseless efforts to bring all the parties together. And I also commend highly the leadership and commitment and tireless diplomatic efforts of Secretary of State John Kerry, and it has been a source of inspiration to work with all these distinguished colleagues. And I have been always closely working with the League of Arab States Secretary-General Elaraby.

This is my sixth day in the region, visiting eight countries, eleven stops, meeting Kings, Emirs, Presidents, Prime Ministers, Foreign Ministers, over meetings, over telephone calls – I have been working very closely with the leaders here, as well as all the leaders in the region. I really appreciate their kind cooperation and leadership.

Our joint effort is a clear signal of a global commitment to end the bloodshed and destruction that is tearing apart the lives and the hopes of so many innocent civilians. The people of Gaza have bled enough. They are trapped and besieged in a tiny, densely populated sliver of land, every bit of which is a civilian area. The Israeli people have been living under the constant fear of Hamas rocket attacks. Tensions are spreading further. We are seeing growing unrest in the West Bank.

Surely now, the parties must realise that it is time for them to act, and solutions must be based on three important issues:

First, stop the fighting. We call for a seven-day humanitarian ceasefire, extending over the Eid period, beginning with an extendable 12-hour pause.

Second, start talking. There is no military solution to addressing the grievances and all parties must find a way to dialogue.

Third, tackle the root causes of the crisis. These peace efforts cannot be the same as it was the last two Gaza conflicts, where we reset the clock and waited for the next one. The ongoing fighting emphasizes the need to finally end the 47-year old occupation and the chokehold on Gaza, ensure security based on mutual recognition, and achieve a viable two-state solution by which Israelis and Palestinians can live in peace and security, side by side.

Along with world and regional leaders, we continue to make every effort to forge a durable ceasefire for the people of Gaza and Israel, based on those three pillars.

Progress is being made, but there is much more work to do. We may not be satisfied with what we are now proposing. But we have to build upon what we are now proposing. In the meantime, more children are dying every hour of every day.

Ladies and Gentlemen, today is the last Friday of Ramadan. The world is just away from marking Eid Al Fitr. Let us all take inspiration from this season of peace and reflection. The United Nations is fully committed to ensuring the success of this proposal and securing hope and dignity for all the people of Palestine and Israel. 

I thank you again for all leaders in the region and in the world who have been working together with the United Nations and the leaders here to bring peace and security to this region. I thank you very much. Shukran Jazeelan.


Off-the-Cuff on 25 July 2014