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UN chief urges restraint before Security Council meeting

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for restraint and an end to the new wave of Israeli-Palestinian violence in a blitz of phone calls Wednesday to their leaders and key players in the region, warning that the situation raises the risk of another full-blown war.

The UN chief said he also urged the Egyptian president, the rulers of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, US Secretary of State John Kerry and others to press the Israelis and Palestinians to return to their November 2012 ceasefire agreement and resume peace negotiations.

Ban was scheduled to address an emergency Security Council meeting on the crisis Thursday.

He said Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi and the emir of Qatar assured him they had urged restraint and were working for a ceasefire. He said he discussed with Kerry “what is necessary to do” to restore calm as soon as possible.

“Gaza is on a knife-edge,” Ban said at a news conference. “The deteriorating situation is leading to a downward spiral which could quickly get out of control. The risk of violence expanding further still is real.”

The UN chief said “Gaza, and the region as a whole, cannot afford another full-blown war.”

AP

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