Middle East

Kerry meets with UN, Egypt as Gaza truce push builds

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, left, makes a statement regarding the violence in Gaza before his meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Cairo July 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Pool)

CAIRO: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry huddled Friday with U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon and Egypt's foreign minister as pressure built for a cease-fire in Gaza.

Kerry, who spent another night in Cairo reaching out by telephone to regional officials, met Ban and Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri for around half an hour.

The top U.S. diplomat has said he would speak to reporters later Friday, on what could be the end of his week-long mission to the region.

The United States has worked with Egypt on a plan that, diplomats say, would provide a humanitarian pause in the deadly Israel-Hamas conflict ahead of talks on key issues.

U.S. officials said that Kerry has spoken repeatedly by telephone with the foreign ministers of Qatar and Turkey, which are seen as influential over Hamas.

The Islamist militant movement that controls the Gaza Strip initially refused a cease-fire, instead showering Israel with rockets.

The 18-day conflict has killed 825 Palestinians, mostly civilians.





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