UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon says he regrets that no progress has been made to solve the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.
The situation in Gaza, and particularly the suffering of the Palestinian people, is a great concern for him almost one year after the Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip, Ban told reporters at a monthly press conference at the UN headquarters in New York on Monday.
He said he has been “working hard” with the Israeli leadership, but he added, “It is regrettable that we have not made much progress.”
Ban stated that he has urged the international community, particularly the Quartet — the United Nations, the European Union, Russia, and the United States — to do more to bring the stalled Middle East peace process back on track.
“This should be one of my top priorities,” Ban said, adding that he will continue to press the Israeli government to agree to protect hospitals, schools, and the sanitation facilities badly needed by the civilians of Gaza.
Ban also said he has been trying to convince the Israeli government to pay $11 million in compensation for the UN premises destroyed in the three-week war on Gaza.
The Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip, which ran from December 27, 2008 to January 18, 2009, killed more than 1,400 Palestinians, many of them women and children.