UN chief's impact on Gaza truce

Published on 20 January 2009

After seven hectic days in the Middle East, the UN chief is heading back to New York. Ban Ki-moon's aim when he left was to press for a ceasefire in Gaza, and call for humanitarian aid to be delivered to those in need. He returns with two ceasefires, and no Egyptian-negotiated truce agreement between Israel and Hamas. [...] In the end, Israel stuck to its own timetable of wrapping up the military offensive in Gaza - in time for the inauguration of US President Barack Obama. However Mr Ban did publicly call for Israel to call a unilateral ceasefire, it became clear to him that the Egyptian peace talks weren't reaching agreement on how to stop Hamas smuggling weapons into Gaza and how to re-open the border crossings into the strip to allow food and aid to get in. And Israel did call a unilateral ceasefire, so at the very least that was an astute reading of Israel's options by the softly spoken secretary general.

Related Links

BBC News