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United Nations News Service (See also > DPI)
9 September 2010
Broad global support needed to underpin Israeli-Palestinian direct talks, says Ban
9 September 2010 – Broad international support, including the participation of the United Nations and the diplomatic Quartet, is crucial for the success of the direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians that kicked off last week, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today. During his meeting this morning with former Senator George Mitchell, the United States diplomat gave Mr. Ban an overview of the first round of direct talks – the first such talks between the two sides in nearly two years – that began on 2 September in Washington. “I also underscored the need for an end to violence, and to extend and expand the scope of the Israeli Government’s settlement restraint,” the Secretary-General told reporters today. The principals of the Quartet, comprising the UN, US, European Union and Russia, will have a meeting later this month in New York, and they will also meet with their Arab partners. Mr. Ban said that he looks forward to meeting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas during the General Assembly later this month. “Negotiations are the only way for Israel and the Palestinians to resolve all final status issues and realize their aspirations,” he stressed. He commended US President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Mr. Mitchell for their “tireless” work, as well as for their close coordination with the UN. He also praised the efforts of Quartet representative and former United Kingdom Prime Minister Tony Blair. The Secretary-General today also called on the international community to “continue pushing for further measures to ease closures and address the needs of the population” of Gaza.