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THE UNITED NATIONS, August 27. /ITAR-TASS/. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday evening welcomed another ceasefire agreement in Gaza and warned that any violations of the Palestinian-Israeli agreement would be "utterly irresponsible".
“A brighter future for Gaza and for Israel depends on a sustainable ceasefire. It is up to the parties to live up to this responsibility,” the UN head’s office said a statement released on Tuesday.
“After 50 days of profound human suffering and devastating physical destruction, any violations of the ceasefire would be utterly irresponsible,” the statement added.
The secretary general noted that any peace effort that does not tackle the root causes of the crisis will do little more than set the stage for the next cycle of violence, calling for, among others, an end to the Israeli blockade of Gaza and addressing Israel’s legitimate security concerns.
“The Secretary-General remains hopeful that the extended ceasefire will act as a prelude to a political process as the only way of achieving durable peace,” said the statement. “The Secretary-General urgently calls on both parties to return to meaningful negotiations towards a final status agreement that addresses all core issues and ends the 47-year occupation.”
The initiative on the extended ceasefire between Israel and Palestine was put forward by Egypt. It was first backed by the Palestinian side and then - by the Israelis. The agreements took effect at 7pm, local time on Tuesday.
The UN estimates that the latest wave of violence, which began eight weeks ago, has killed 2,101 Palestinians and 67 Israelis, in addition to forcing 475,000 Palestinians to seek refuge at UN facilities inside Gaza.
Since the beginning of Israel’s military operation in Gaza, the sides have several times tried to make “a humanitarian pause” in the hostilities. However, the ceasefire regime each time was either violated or clashes were resumed with new force upon its expiry.