24 September 2009 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has met with Israeli and Palestinian leaders ahead of today’s meeting of the United Nations and its principal international partners in the search for a solution to the Middle East conflict.
Mr. Ban will host the meeting of the diplomatic Quartet – comprising the UN, European Union (EU), Russia and the United States – later today at UN Headquarters in New York, on the sidelines of the annual high-level segment of the General Assembly.
In his meeting yesterday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Secretary-General restated the UN’s call for a full settlement freeze and the implementation of other commitments under the Middle East Road Map, which embodies the two-State solution.
The two also discussed the humanitarian situation in Gaza, with Mr. Ban expressing his regret that Israel had not accepted the UN proposal made in June to begin reconstruction with a UN-sponsored pilot project in Gaza.
Mr. Ban also voiced his serious concern about the situation in Gaza in a separate meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, noting that the UN remained ready to implement the pilot project to kick start some reconstruction and that it would continue to raise the issue with Israel.
The Secretary-General also congratulated Mr. Abbas on recent steps towards political renewal and statehood and on the economic revitalization in the West Bank.
On 25 August Prime Minister Salam Fayyad announced plans to complete the building of Palestinian state institutions in two years. Mr. Ban has voiced his strong support for these efforts and pledged the UN’s assistance.