RAMALLAH, July 23 (Xinhua) -- Visiting U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced here Wednesday that "some progress" has been made for reaching a final truce between Israel and Gaza Hamas-led militants.
"Over the past 24 hours, we'd made some progress," Kerry told reporters after his meeting in Ramallah with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas earlier on Wednesday.
"We hope to see a change in the speech of the parties, and then we will be able to go ahead towards an everlasting future program. We will push forward towards a ceasefire," he said.
He stressed that he will work with President Abbas and the others in the region to reach a ceasefire, adding that he thanks Abbas for his efforts to quell the crisis.
"Today's talks focused on how we can take steps forward, and we do so for one reason that the Palestinians and the Israelis are all living under threats of violence, which has to be ended for both sides," said Kerry.
Meanwhile, Saeb Erekat, member of Palestine Liberation Organization, told reporters that new and serious ideas are being discussed, which are based on a balance between a ceasefire and lifting the blockade on Gaza.
Kerry traveled between Jerusalem and Ramallah throughout the day. Before the meeting with Abbas, he arrived in Jerusalem and met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon who is also in the region amid diplomatic efforts to end the fighting.
Earlier in the day, Ban Ki-moon urged the warring sides to end fighting and start negotiation for a ceasefire.
Since Israel launched Operation Protective Edge in the Gaza Strip on July 8, some 631 Palestinians were killed and around 3, 750 injured. The Israeli side has lost one civilian and 28 soldiers.