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Ban discusses Palestinian crisis during telephone talks with leaders

Ban discusses Palestinian crisis during telephone talks with leaders

Ban Ki-moon
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon voiced concern today about the continuing humanitarian problems in the Gaza Strip as he held talks by telephone with Middle East leaders about the ongoing crisis in the region.

Mr. Ban spoke with Prime Minister Salam Fayyad of the Palestinian National Authority, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Jordanian Foreign Minister Daoud Khattab, UN spokesperson Michele Montas told reporters.

During those talks Mr. Ban and the leaders discussed the humanitarian situation inside Gaza, where recent fighting between members of the Fatah and Hamas movements has left dozens of people dead and severely hampered international relief operations, which a large segment of the local population depends on for daily sustenance.

Ms. Montas said the discussions also focused on security and political issues, with Mr. Ban reaffirming his support for Mr. Abbas and the need for a two-State solution in the Middle East, with Israel and Palestine living side by side in peace and security.

The telephone talks took place as the UN World Food Programme (WFP) today sent its first shipment of food aid into Gaza since the latest wave of unrest, which forced many aid agencies to suspend operations and Israel to close border crossings.

Two trucks carrying 51 metric tons of food have crossed the border between Israel and Gaza and more are expected to follow later today, Ms. Montas said.

WFP has warned that commercial food stocks in Gaza are depleting quickly, with stocks having already run out in some areas, due in part to panic buying of stable goods, and expected to run extremely low in other areas within two weeks.