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Middle East

Kerry: Making some progress in Gaza truce efforts

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (R) meets with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in occupied Jerusalem July 23, 2014. (REUTERS/Charles Dharapak)

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Wednesday that diplomacy to end the Gaza bloodshed has made progress, but warned more time was needed.

"We have certainly made some steps forward, but there is still work to be done," Kerry said in occupied Jerusalem as he started a meeting with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Kerry flew into Tel Aviv from Cairo Wednesday - despite U.S. warnings over airline safety after a Hamas rocket landed near Ben Gurion airport - as global concerns mount over rising body count in the 16-day conflict in Gaza.

Kerry, who declined to elaborate further on the shape of diplomatic efforts, is due to meet later Wednesday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Aides said Kerry, who has been holding talks in Cairo since Monday, had spoken late into the night with regional diplomats.

Ban, who is on his own regional tour and met Kerry in Cairo Monday, also voiced guarded hope for ending the violence.

"We are now joining our forces in strength to make a cease-fire as soon as possible, but there is still some detailed way which we have to make," he said.

"We do not have much time to wait and lose," added Ban, who said he had spoke during the morning with Netanyahu.

 

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