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Kerry says ‘some progress’ in Gaza truce efforts

Washington’s top diplomat says global efforts to end 16 days of bloodshed between Israel and the Gaza Strip are progressing as the fighting rages on and airlines suspend flights over rocket fears.

“We have certainly made some steps forward, but there is still work to be done,” Kerry says as he meets UN chief Ban Ki-moon for the second time this week.

“We are now joining our forces in strength to make a ceasefire as soon as possible,” Ban says, warning there was no time to lose as concern mounted over the rising civilian body count.

The US diplomat offers a similar message to the Palestinians.

“We have in the last 24 hours made some progress in moving toward that goal,” Kerry says after meeting Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah, before heading to Tel Aviv for talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Britain’s new Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond is also expected in the region later today for late-night talks with Abbas.

US Secretary of State John Kerry meets with outgoing President Shimon Peres in Jerusalem, Wednesday, July 23, 2014. (photo credit: Matty Stern/US Embassy Tel Aviv)
US Secretary of State John Kerry meets with outgoing President Shimon Peres in Jerusalem, Wednesday, July 23, 2014. (photo credit: Matty Stern/US Embassy Tel Aviv)

— AFP

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