Tuesday, January 31, 2012

UN chief urges Israel, Palestinians to resume Amman talks

Amman - UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday called on Israel and the Palestinian Authority to resume the Jordan-brokered exploratory talks.

'I hope the preparatory talks which have taken place for five rounds of meetings here will continue and lead to serious negotiations to reach agreement for a two-state solution by the end of the year as envisaged by the Quartet,' Ki-moon said.

The UN chief was speaking at a press conference with Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh, at the end of talks that covered the outcome of three weeks of discussions in Amman between Palestinian and Israeli negotiators.

Ki-moon was visiting Jordan on the first stop of a regional tour that is also scheduled to take him to Israel and the Palestinian territories.

Judeh said that meetings between the two sides in Amman were suspended this week for 'an assessment' of what had been achieved.

The UN Secretary General pledged to do his utmost to convince Israeli and Palestinian leaders to go back to the negotiating table, but urged the two sides to adopt confidence-building measures.

'In the short term, it essential that provocations stop ... and that the parties build confidence,' he said.

'The two parties should show strong political will, courage and vision and think about their better future,' he added.

Ki-moon called on the Israeli government 'to take some good gestures so that the meetings can continue' and on the Palestinians to change their mind and resume the Amman discussions.

Palestinians said that they had withdrawn from the talks after Israel failed to present proposals on the twin issues of security and borders as demanded by the Quartet.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said that he would be reporting the outcome of the Amman talks to an Arab League panel due to meet in Cairo on February 4 to decide the next steps.

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