UN chief asks Israel, Palestinians to resume peace talks

Ramallah, Oct 13 (IANS) UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon Monday called on both Israel and the Palestinians to be bold and resume the Middle East peace process, which has been stalled for so many months.

Ban, who arrived earlier in the West Bank city of Ramallah, told a joint news conference with Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah following their meeting that it’s time for all parties “to be to the side of peace”.
He vowed that the UN would continue its full support to all efforts that will achieve at the end the two-state solution, Xinhua reported.
Ban condemned the ongoing Israeli settlement activities, expressing deep concern that such practices “would lead to more tension in the region”.
The situation between Israel and the Palestinians “has to be resolved as part of the general political margin that will end half a century of Israeli military occupation and lead to the two-state solution”, the UN chief said.
Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians stopped at the end of March after it went on for nine months under US sponsorship. The talks failed to achieve any progress in major issues.
Meanwhile, Ban announced that the UN would keep supporting the four-month old Palestinian unity government mainly in the reconstruction in the Gaza Strip.
Ban flew to Ramallah following a donors’ conference in Cairo on Gaza reconstruction.
Palestinian Prime Minister Hamdallah said at the press conference Monday that the $4 billion pledged by donors Sunday “will remain useless as long as Israel does not completely lift its blockade”.
“The mechanism of allowing the construction material into Gaza under the supervision of the UN, which was accepted by both Israel and the Palestinians, is a good step in the right direction,” Hamdallah said.
“But this would never happen until Israel lifts the blockade, stop all its measures, end the military occupation of the Palestinian territories and a Palestinian state is established on 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital,” he added.