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UN chief "deeply troubled" by approval of Israeli settlements in West Bank

(Xinhua)

10:57, April 25, 2012

UNITED NATIONS, April 24 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday said that he is "deeply troubled" by Israel's announcement that it has legalized three settlements in the West Bank.

"The secretary-general is deeply troubled by the decision of the government of Israel to formally approve three outposts in the West Bank: Sansana, Rechelim and Bruchin," said a statement released here by Ban's spokesperson.

Israel approved the settlements through a ministerial committee chaired by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

"The secretary-general reiterates that all settlement activity is illegal under international law," said the statement. "It runs contrary to Israel's obligations under the roadmap and repeated Quartet calls for the parties to refrain from provocations."

The diplomatic Quartet on the Middle East, consisting of the UN, the European Union (EU), Russia, and the U.S., have formulated a roadmap to a two-state solution to the Israeli and Palestinian conflict.

The two-state solution means that a secure Israel to live in peace with an independent Palestine State.

The statement added that Ban is "disappointed" that Israel has approved the new settlements at a time when the international community is attempting to "restart dialogue" between Israel and Palestine.

The Israelis and the Palestinians have yet to resume direct negotiations since talks stalled in September 2010 after Israel refused to extend its freeze on settlement activity in the occupied Palestinian territory.

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