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United Nations urges to revive Middle East peace talks

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United Nations urges to revive Middle East peace talks

2011-04-22 04:10:35 GMT+7 (ICT)

UNITED NATIONS (BNO NEWS) -- United Nations political affairs chief Lynn Pascoe on Thursday urged Israel and Palestine to revive Middle East peace talks and end the continuing deadlock.

Pascoe, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, called for Israeli and Palestinian leaders to make bold and decisive steps to restart negotiations and put an end to the conflict.

"The international community is rightly concerned at the protracted stalemate in the peace process," said Pascoe. "We stress the importance of supporting and empowering the leadership of President Abbas and Prime Minister Fayyad, and of bringing the parties back to the table."

Furthermore, Pascoe remarked that the Palestinian Authority has achieved significant progress in recent times and the UN has declared that governmental functions are now sufficient for a viable government of a State.

"Far-reaching rather than incremental steps should be taken by Israel to lead to progress on the ground, by rolling back measures of occupation to match the Palestinian Authority's achievements," added Pascoe.

However, he voiced concern that the Palestinian Authority, led by President Abbas, has not been able to extend its State-building work to Gaza due to the ongoing political division with Hamas.

In regards to Hamas, Pascoe warned that the latest reporting period saw the highest level of violence in Gaza and Israel since Operation Cast Lead which took place two years ago.

Palestinian militant groups, including Hamas, fired 111 mortar shells and 155 rockets while Israel conducted six operations and 57 airstrikes into Gaza since the last briefing to the UN Security Council.

One Israeli child was killed and two civilians were injured by Palestinian rocket fire. Some 19 Palestinian militants and 15 civilians were killed, while 17 militants and 60 civilians were injured, as a result of Israel Defense Forces (IDF) actions.

"We are alarmed at actions of Hamas to escalate violence, endangering civilians on both sides and risking a deeper confrontation with Israel," said Pascoe. "In the interest of the civilian populations on both sides, we call on the parties to uphold and solidify the prevailing fragile calm."

The Israel-Palestine talks have been stalled since Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu refused to extend a moratorium on settlement building in occupied Palestinian territory in September 2010.

In response, President Abbas broke off direct talks. Israel resumed settlement constructions even though they were labeled as a violation of international law by the international community.

Palestine demanded a stop to settlement construction in the disputed East Jerusalem and West Bank area as a key element for continuing peace talks, aimed at reaching a two-state solution based in the 1967 Green Line.


-- © BNO News All rights reserved 2011-04-22

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