United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
NEW YORK - Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon met with Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon at the UN headquarters in New York on Tuesday.
According to the office of the Secretary-General, during the meeting Ban stressed the need for both Israel and the Palestinians to “restore a political horizon towards a peaceful two-state solution.”
The Secretary-General also said he believes there is a need for “substantial policy changes on the ground” and told Ya’alon he encourages Israel to take “significant steps”, in line with the calls by the Middle East Quartet, that would “strengthen Palestinian institutions, economic and security prospects, while respecting legitimate Israeli security concerns.”
Ban Ki-moon also expressed concern regarding Israeli citizens held in Gaza and also urged for the return of the bodies of soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul to their families in Israel.
Before the meeting, Ya’alon also held a briefing with the ambassadors of member states of the UN Security Council at the offices of Israel’s Permanent Mission to the UN, at the request of Israel’s Ambassador to the international body Danny Danon.
The briefing focused on the challenges facing Israel in the global arena in terms of security and the current wave of Palestinian attacks.
Ya’alon’s office said the goal of the briefing was to explain to the ambassadors the “complex reality of Israel”, and enhance the country’ relationships with the Council’s member states.
Ya’alon, who is on a visit to the United States, also met with US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter on Monday in Washington DC. The two discussed the US defense package to Israel for the coming decade. Ya'alon said he found a highly receptive ear in Washington to Israel's changing security needs.
"Relations with the US are a cornerstone of our national security, and Secretary of Defense Carter is a true friend," Ya'alon said. "I was pleased discover a a great understanding for our security needs in light of the changing reality in the region.”
Yaakov Lappin contributed to this report.