Ban welcomes Gaza ceasefire, urges talks

Ban welcomes Gaza ceasefire, urges talks

United States - United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged "utmost restraint" after Israel and Hamas agreed to begin a new, 72-hour truce Tuesday in their bloody, month-old conflict.

The breakthrough came during talks in Cairo on Monday, only days after a similar three-day agreement to let the guns fall silent collapsed in a deadly wave of violence within hours of starting on Friday.

Ban urged both sides to "commence, as soon as possible, talks in Cairo on a durable ceasefire and the underlying issues," his office said hours after the announcement was made.

"In this regard, he welcomes the proactive engagement of the Palestinian delegation under the leadership of President Abbas." The bloodshed, which has cost the lives of more than 1,800 Palestinians, 64 Israeli soldiers and three civilians in Israel, hast sent tensions in the region soaring and earned strong criticism for the Jewish state.

Talks between the two sides are "the only way to sustainably stop the violence, which has cost far too many lives," Ban said, promising the UN's "full support." Envoys from all of the world body's 193 member countries are due to meet in a full UN General Assembly on Wednesday to hear top officials report on the crisis.

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