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UN chief cheers latest Gaza truce, urges long-term deal

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon speaks to the media at the United Nations on July 28, 2014UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Sunday welcomed the news of a fresh 72-hour ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, urging the two sides to work towards a longer-term truce. The latest ceasefire began at 12:01 am on Monday (2101 GMT Sunday), after days of frantic mediation to stem a firestorm of violence that has killed 1,939 Palestinians and 67 people on the Israeli side since July 8. Ban “expresses his strong hope that this will give the two sides, under Egyptian auspices, another chance to agree on a durable ceasefire for the benefit of all civilian populations and as a starting point to address the underlying grievances on both sides,” a statement from his spokesman said. “The United Nations stands ready to assist in the implementation of an agreement that would consolidate peace and allow for much needed reconstruction and development of Gaza,” the statement added.

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