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15 July 2008

Ban discusses Middle East peace process with Israeli/ Palestinian leaders

All aspects of the Middle East peace process came up for discussion Monday when Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon met separately with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in Paris.

A UN spokesperson says the Secretary-General commended both leaders for their continued commitment to the peace process and discussed how to make vital progress in the period ahead in the bilateral negotiations on the core issues, in implementation of Phase One Road Map obligations, in addressing immediate concerns in Gaza and solidifying the recent calm, and on the regional track between Israel and Syria.

Meanwhile, speaking to reporters after meeting with French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, the Secretary-General said he saw some encouraging development of the situation in the Middle East in general, including the election of a president and the formation of a unity Government in Lebanon, the agreement between Lebanon and Syria to launch a diplomatic process to establish diplomatic relations, and the indirect talks between Syria and Israel through the auspices of Turkish Government.

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