(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon stressed the vital importance of the Israelis and Palestinians returning to dialogue to resolve their outstanding issues.
"There was no time to lose if hope was to be kept alive," Ban told Israeli Minister of Defense Moshe Ya'alon on Monday, in a meeting at the UN headquarters.
Ban welcomed Israel's support in setting up the temporary mechanism for facilitating the reconstruction of Gaza and urged that positive initial steps be sustained.
Egypt and Norway co-sponsored an international conference to rebuild Gaza with pledges totalling USD 5.4 billion.
He also confirmed his intention to establish a Board of Inquiry to look into issues involving attacks on UN premises in Gaza during the recent conflict, and underlined the importance of proportionality.
Turning to areas of operations of UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) and UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), Ban urged Israel to exercise maximum restraint to prevent escalation, and expressed appreciation for Israel's continued support of UNDOF.
Israel's commitment to the implementation of Security Council resolution 1701 was vital to maintain the calm along the Blue Line with Lebanon, he added.
Israel has been violating Lebanon's sovereignty and independence by air, sea and land in clear violation of resolution 1701.