UNITED NATIONS, Aug. 23 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon on Saturday urged Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to "return to calm" in Gaza.
A statement issued here by the UN Spokesperson Office confirmed that Ban spoke Saturday by phone with Netanyahu as part of his continued effort to hold consultations with key international and regional leaders to address the situation in Gaza.
The UN chief and the Israeli leader "discussed the crisis in Gaza, including the need for the parties to return to the ceasefire negotiations under Egyptian auspices," said the statement.
"The secretary-general urged the prime minister to return to calm and encouraged him to take steps to facilitate the Egyptian efforts," it said.
"He stressed the importance for the parties to establish a durable ceasefire with a view to a resumption of meaningful negotiations on a two-state solution," it added.
Ban also reiterated that the United Nations stands ready to support any agreement the parties may reach, according to the statement.
The phone call followed a round of long-distance talks the UN chief held on Friday with several leaders of the Middle East and other key parties, including Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Hassan Shokry Selim and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, as well as leaders of Qatar and Turkey.
The ongoing Israel offensive on Gaza, which started on July 8, has left more than 2,000 Palestinians killed and 10,500 wounded, while Hamas attacks killed 64 Israeli soldiers and four civilians.
A previous round of truce talks collapsed on Tuesday which broke nine days of calm and resumed the conflict between Israel and Hamas.