UN official alarmed by reports of renewed Israeli settlement construction

08:13, October 22, 2010      

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A senior UN official on Thursday voiced alarm over reports concerning new Israeli settlement housing units in the occupied Palestinian territory, warning that renewed settlement activity will only further undermine trust as direct Israeli-Palestinian talks have stalled.

Robert Serry, the UN special coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, stressed that renewed settlement construction, which is illegal under international law, runs counter to the international community's repeated appeals to the parties to create conditions conducive to negotiations.

He also pledged the world body's continued support to promote the resumption of successful negotiations.

Israel's partial settlement moratorium expired late last month, despite calls on Israel from the diplomatic Quartet -- comprising the UN, European Union, Russia and United States -- to renew it. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has indicated he will not continue with negotiations unless Israel freezes settlement activity.

"We have a brief and crucial window to overcome the current impasse," UN Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Oscar Fernandez-Taranco told the Security Council on Monday in its regular monthly briefing on the Middle East.

He added that United States-led intensive diplomatic efforts, supported by the Quartet, are ongoing to facilitate the continuation of the negotiations.

Source: Xinhua


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