UN chief to attend Arab League summit amid new concerns about Middle East (2)

13:58, March 25, 2010      

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UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon briefs his recent visit to the Middle East during a Security Council meeting at the UN headquarters in New York, the United States, March 24, 2010. (Xinhua/Shen Hong)

The secretary-general also noted that "there have been too many negative facts on the ground" and called for more positive signs, such as the lifting of the blockade of the Gaza Strip and an end to rocket fire from militants based in Gaza.

"Israelis and Palestinians should do much more to build trust and meet their obligations under international law and the Roadmap, " the secretary-general told the Security Council.

He said that while peace is primarily in the hands of the parties themselves, the international community will continue to play a crucial role.

"At this important juncture, the Quartet is determined to push the parties and monitor the situation," the secretary-general said. "The parameters of a solution are well known. Our challenge is to get from here to there."

Turning to the weekend Arab League summit in Sirte, Libya, the Secretary-General said he planned to urge Arab support for indirect negotiations between Israeli and Palestinian counterparts, otherwise known as proximity talks.

"It is crucial for Arab countries to help create a favorable atmosphere in which the talks can succeed," Ban said.

He also noted that during his visit, the Israeli Government had raised the Iranian nuclear issue.

The secretary-general told the Security Council that he emphasized the international consensus to address this question and the crucial diplomatic process under way.

Source: Xinhua

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