United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
(photo credit: AFP PHOTO)
NEW YORK - Israeli and Palestinian leaders must ensure that their actions reflect their stated commitment to a two-state solution, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said at the French ministerial conference meeting on the Middle East peace process held in Paris on Friday.
“We all agree that a two-state solution is the only viable option for a sustainable peace,” he told the forum. “Yet we all can see that the two-state solution is at great risk.”
Ki-Moon added that “Israel and Palestine must pull back from the brink by undertaking serious efforts to create the conditions which will enable a return to meaningful negotiations.”
While the Secretary General condemned “terror, violence and the incitement that fuel them”, he also cited “the ongoing settlement enterprise” and the “lack of unity between Gaza and the West Bank.” as obstacles to peace.
“Settlement activity is illegal under international law and Israel must cease its policy of expanding settlements, legalizing outposts and demolishing Palestinian structures,” he stated. “These actions raise legitimate questions about its commitment to the two-state solution and to its obligations as the Occupying Power.”
Ki-Moon also called on the Palestinian leadership to “unequivocally combat violence and incitement, including by clearly condemning all acts of terror” as well as to work for Palestinian unity under an authority in line with the PLO principles.
The Secretary-General, who also met with US Secretary of State John Kerry on the margins of the Paris meeting, added he believes that “changing regional dynamics and shared security concerns provide an opportunity to the revisit the Arab Peace Initiative, with its vision of a comprehensive resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian and Israeli-Arab conflicts.”
A report reviewing the key obstacles to a peace agreement and recommending action which will help jump start the negotiations will be issued soon, according to him. Ban Ki-Moon also declared he plans to visit the Israel and the Palestinian Authority around the end of June.