Cairo - The UN secretary general is urging Israel and Hamas to end the fighting, then hold dialogue in a bid to reach a truce to end two weeks of conflict.
Ban Ki-moon made his comments on Monday after arriving in Cairo as he and US Secretary of State John Kerry step up diplomatic efforts to resolve the crisis.
Kerry is on his way to Cairo to join the push for a truce.
The Islamic militant group that controls the Gaza Strip has rejected an Egyptian-proposed cease-fire that had been accepted by Israel. It says its main goal is the lifting of a 7-year-old blockade of its territory.
When asked about such conditions, Ban said "the best way at this time is to stop the violence and return to dialogue and address the root causes of the problems".