Ban Calls on Israel to Take ‘Decisive Moves’ towards Agreement

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon voiced hope today that Israel will make “decisive moves towards a historic agreement” with the Palestinians, telling the country’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the current deadlock in negotiations between the two sides was not helping anyone.

Speaking by telephone to Mr. Netanyahu, Mr. Ban discussed the Middle East peace process and the signing this week in Cairo of a reconciliation agreement between the rival Palestinian groups Fatah and Hamas.

Overcoming the current impasse in negotiations was an urgent priority, and “continued drifting will not serve the interests of both parties,” Mr. Ban said, according to an information note released by his spokesperson.

The Secretary-General told Mr. Netanyahu that he was “convinced that realizing a two-state solution as soon as possible is in the best interest of both the Israeli and Palestinian people. He said he hoped Israel will make decisive moves towards a historic agreement with the Palestinians.”

Discussing the Fatah-Hamas agreement, Mr. Ban noted that the United Nations had consistently supported Palestinian unity under the leadership of President Mahmoud Abbas and in the framework of the Arab Peace Initiative and the Palestine Liberation Organization commitments, in line with the principles shared by the diplomatic Quartet comprising the UN, the European Union, Russia and the United States.

“The Secretary-General also noted that Palestinian unity is a process which is just beginning now, and thus it would be best to assess it as it moves forward.”

In today’s discussion with Mr. Netanyahu, Mr. Ban also urged Israel to not stop transferring tax revenues to the Palestinian Authority.

(UN News Centre)

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