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UN chief calls for durable ceasefire in Gaza
August 07,2014   By:Xinhua

UNITED NATIONS, Aug. 7,2014-- As a 72-hour Gaza truce held through its second day on Wednesday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon called for a durable ceasefire between the two sides, and urged member states to respond to calls for emergency humanitarian funding.

Ban made the appeal at an informal meeting of the General Assembly, where senior UN officials addressed the member states on the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza.

"We cannot rest as the suffering continues. This ceasefire has come at a price that is almost too much to bear," said Ban. "We must spare no effort to turn the current calm into a durable ceasefire that addresses the underlying issues of the conflict."

Since fighting began on July 8, more than 1,800 Palestinians have been killed, most of them civilians, Gaza officials said. Israel said 64 of its soldiers and three civilians have been killed.

The immediate task is to meet the dire and urgent humanitarian needs of the people of Gaza, such as providing care for the many wounded and traumatized, ensuring that people have food and water, and housing homeless families, said the UN chief.

"I urge all member states to respond swiftly and generously to the emergency appeals by UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East) and OCHA (the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) to address these most pressing humanitarian needs," he said.

Ban also paid tribute to the UN staff working in Gaza, announcing that UN flags worldwide will be lowered to half-staff on Thursday in memory of the colleagues killed.

"Thank you for your bravery. Thank you for your sacrifice. Thank you for saving lives," he said, stressing that attacks against UN premises, along with other suspected breaches of international law, must be swiftly investigated.

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