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AKIPRESS.COM - The United Nations Security Council today, meeting in an emergency session just after midnight, called for an “immediate and unconditional” ceasefire, allowing for the delivery of urgently needed humanitarian assistance to the Gaza Strip.
In a presidential statement, the 15-member body expressed strong support for the call by international partners and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for such a ceasefire, and urged all parties to accept and fully implement it into the Eid period marking the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan and beyond.
“The Security Council also calls on parties to engage in efforts to achieve a durable and fully respected ceasefire, based on the Egyptian initiative,” the statement added.
In this regard, the Council welcomed the efforts of international partners and the convening of the international meeting to support the ceasefire held in Paris on 26 July and urged all concerned regional and international parties to vigorously support efforts to consolidate an agreement between the parties.
The Israeli military offensive in Gaza, which is home to 1.8 million people, has left hundreds dead and thousands injured. Over 170,000 people have been uprooted from their homes and have sought shelter in UN-run facilities.
The Council expressed “grave concern” regarding the deterioration in the situation as a result of the crisis related to Gaza and the loss of civilian lives and casualties.
The call by the Council echoes that made by Mr. Ban some 12 hours earlier for both the Israelis and Palestinians to extend the humanitarian ceasefire that was in effect and mostly observed until early Sunday morning.
“Working closely with regional and international leaders, the Secretary-General urges all those with influence on the parties to help encourage an extension of the humanitarian ceasefire and compliance with observing it, once declared,” said a statement issued by his spokesperson.