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UN official voices concern over Israeli settlement announcement


16:25, September 29, 2011

UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 28 (Xinhua) -- The UN's coordinator for Middle East peace expressed concern about Israel's announcement of plans for new settlement activity, said UN spokesman Martin Nesirky here on Wednesday.

"Robert Serry, the UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, expressed his concern at the decision taken yesterday by Israeli authorities to advance planning for a large number of new settlement units in East Jerusalem," Nesirky told reporters at a daily noon briefing.

The Israeli government announced that it will construct 1,100 new housing units in East Jerusalem. The move comes as the diplomatic Quartet for Middle East peace -- consisting of the UN, the U.S., Russia and the European Union (EU) -- has invited Israelis and Palestinians to restart negotiations on a peaceful settlement of their outstanding disagreements.

Nesirky said that Serry sees the Israeli government's announcement is the "wrong signal to send" in light of the call made by the Quartet on Sept. 23 for the parties to renew talks as well as the sensitivity of the situation in the Middle East.

"He said that the decision ignores the Quartet's appeal of last Friday to the parties to refrain from provocative actions," said Nesirky.

The previous round of direct negotiations between Israel and Palestine was short-lived. It ended in Oct. 2010 when Palestine disengaged due to Israel's decision not to renew a moratorium on settlement building.

"Serry added that settlement activity is contrary to the roadmap and to international law and undermines the prospect of resuming negotiations and reaching a two-state solution to the conflict," said Nesirky.

The Roadmap for Middle East Peace is the plan set out by the Quartet for negotiating a peaceful two-state solution to the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine.

Nesirky reminded reporters that Serry is not the only senior UN official to have been concerned by Israel's decision to build more.

"You'll recall that the under-secretary-general for political affairs Lynn Pascoe told the Security Council yesterday that the latest settlement decision was of particular concern," Nesirky said.

The problems between Israel and Palestine have became more amplified during the high-level plenary of the 66th session of the UN General Assembly, which concluded on Tuesday.

At the assembly's general debate last Friday, Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas announced that he had submitted a bid for Palestine to become a member state of the UN. Israel has stated its opposition to this action, saying that it is unilateral and does not take into account unfinished bilateral negotiations.


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Hammad Sethi at 2011-09-3094.197.127.*
All Muslim countries will need to unite together, forge a close alliance with China, and acquire nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons, if Muslims want their basic human rights to be respected, to be treated equally, fairly, and democratically in the United Nations.

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