United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will visit Israel, the
Palestinian territories and Jordan in a Middle East tour supporting the
peace process, Ban said Wednesday.
"My visit comes at an important moment," the UN chief said at the United Nations headquarters in New York.
the low-level talks taking place in Amman at Jordan's invitation, Ban
said "I will be there to encourage both sides to re-engage in earnest
and create a positive atmosphere for moving forward."
is scheduled for after the Quartet of Middle East mediators'
deadline for Israel and the Palestinian Authority to present proposals
regarding a borders and security.
The UN chief will also visit
Israel and the Palestinian territories after EU foreign affairs chief
Catherine Ashton made a similar trip this week.
Palestinian officials said that Wednesday's meeting in Amman would be the last one.
The PA has come under heavy pressure from the Quartet to continue the
talks but will not agree to do so, Ma'an cited unnamed Palestinian
sources as saying.
Jordan's Abdullah, meanwhile, has urged
Palestinian Authority President Abbas to continue the current
Israeli-Palestinian talks after Thursday, a PA official in Ramallah
said. That is the day when – according to the Palestinian
interpretation -- a three-month deadline set by the Quartet expires.
Israel believes that the deadline does not expire until early April.
Herb Keinon contributed to this report