UN chief in West Bank to push for peace talksMarch 20th, 2010 - 6:00 pm ICT by IANS
Ramallah, March 20 (IANS) UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon arrived in the West Bank city of Ramallah Saturday to push for talks that would eventually lead to direct negotiations between Israel and Palestine.
Upon arrival, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad took Ban on a tour of the concrete barrier Israel is building in the occupied territory to secure its settlements, Xinhua reported.
Ban said the Jewish settlements made the situation difficult and called on Israel to take more steps to ease the life of Palestinians, especially in the blockaded Gaza Strip.
Later, Ban will go to Israel to talk to President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, besides other senior Israeli officials to clarify the UN’s stance on Middle East peace.
Ban will visit the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip Sunday and also address a press conference.
The UN chief’s second visit to the Palestinian territories comes a day after he joined a Middle East Quartet meeting which brought together US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and Quartet representative Tony Blair to assess the stalled peace process between Israel and the Palestinian National Authority (PNA).
At the meeting in Moscow, Ban urged Israel to freeze all settlement activities.
“The Quartet urges the government of Israel to freeze all settlement activity” in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, Ban said.
A statement by the Quartet gave Israel and the PNA 24 months to start negotiations that would enable the creation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel.
Last week, Israel approved the building of 1,600 new homes in East Jerusalem, which the Palestinians want as their future capital, hindering a fresh US proposal to revive the peace talks between the two sides.
- Palestinians to apply for UN status despite pressure: Abbas - Sep 08, 2012
- UN chief visits Gaza to revive Middle East talks - Mar 21, 2010
- UN envoy slams Israel's plan for new housing in East Jerusalem - Aug 12, 2011
- Israel may resolve Middle East crisis unilaterally: Minister - May 31, 2012
- Abbas pledges to continue peace talks with Israel - Jan 23, 2012
- Israel-Palestine direct talks end in Egypt - Sep 14, 2010
- Gaza violence overshadows Mideast peace talks - Sep 16, 2010
- Russia urges Israel to stop settlement expansion - Jun 09, 2012
- Israel nod for Quartet peace plan, urges Palestinian acceptance - Oct 02, 2011
- Israel calls for elections to replace Palestinian leader - Aug 23, 2012
- Palestinian official accuses Blair of bias towards Israel - Oct 02, 2011
- Palestinian UN bid not to be withdrawn even if talks resume: Abbas - Oct 11, 2011
- Abandon new settlement plans, Russia urges Israel - Oct 17, 2011
- Abbas, Netanyahu hold direct talks in Jerusalem (Lead) - Sep 16, 2010
- Israel should meet its obligations to revive peace: Abbas - Dec 31, 2011
Tags: ban ki moon, bank ban, benjamin netanyahu, city of ramallah, concrete barrier, east jerusalem, gaza strip, government of israel, hillary clinton, middle east peace, minister benjamin netanyahu, palestinian national authority, palestinian prime minister, palestinian prime minister salam fayyad, palestinian state, palestinian territories, prime minister benjamin, settlement activities, settlement activity, shimon peres