Egypt peace initiative "promising" but Hamas has yet to respond

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An initiative put forward by Egypt, based on a November 2012 ceasefire, is the most promising framework to end the fighting in Gaza.

That was the Secretary-General's message to members of the Security Council via video conference from Ramallah, the fifth stop on his journey to raise support for an end to the conflict.

Addressing the Council's regular quarterly debate on the situation in Israel and Palestine, Mr Ban Ki-moon said the effort has garnered the support of Palestinian President Abbas and the Arab League.

Unfortunately, he noted, Hamas has yet to respond positively.

"This is the most meaningful path to peace. I have also discussed Israel's legitimate security concerns with Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ya'alon. I once again strongly condemn the indiscriminate rocket fire launched by Hamas and Islamic Jihad from Gaza into Israel. I am also alarmed by Israel's heavy response and the corresponding high civilian death toll."

Mr Ban added that it is his hope and belief that his diplomatic efforts will lead to results and an end to the fighting in the very near future.

Too many civilians, including children, are paying the price for the latest escalation of violence in Gaza, the Secretary-General deplored.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration: 1'36''

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