CAIRO Nov 20 U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
on Tuesday called for an immediate ceasefire in the Gaza
conflict, saying an Israeli ground operation in the Palestinian
enclave would be a "dangerous escalation" that must be avoided.
Speaking at a news conference in Cairo after talks with Arab
League chief Nabil Elaraby, Ban said he supported Egyptian-led
efforts to bring an end to the fighting between Israel and
Palestinian militant groups in the Hamas-run territory.
"Immediate steps are needed by all to avoid a further
escalation, including a ground operation which will only result
in further tragedy," he said.
"My message is clear: all sides must halt fire immediately.
Further escalating the situation will put the entire region at
risk," said Ban, who will go to Israel later on Tuesday. "I will
urge the Israeli leadership to end the violence," he said.
"We all must recognise that Israel has legitimate security
concerns that must be respected in accordance with international
law, but a ground operation would be a dangerous escalation," he