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(photo credit: AP)
Next month's US-sponsored summit is critical for the Middle East peace process, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and Defense Minister Ehud Barak emphasized during talks Friday at United Nations headquarters in New York, the UN said.
At the meeting, Ban and Barak discussed recent developments in the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.
According to the UN, Ban urged Barak to "to take all possible steps to improve the humanitarian situation of the Palestinian people and reaffirmed the UN's commitment to ensure that Palestinian humanitarian needs were being met."
An official readout of the meeting from the UN added that Ban briefed Barak on the UNIFIL peacekeeping mission in Lebanon.
Ban and Barak also reportedly addressed the issue of Israel's captive soldiers, and the UN secretary-general told Barak that the international body was continuing to work for their release.
The two officials also discussed the threat posed by Iran, the UN said.
On Thursday, Barak discussed the problem of Iran's uranium enrichment program with US Defense Secretary Robert Gates during talks in Washington.
The two men discussed the continued cooperation in the development of a "multi-layered missile interception system," seen as a measure to counter any Iranian attack on the Jewish state, Barak's office said in a statement.