Ban Ki-moon says regrets continued W. Bank building

UN Sec.-Gen. urges Israel to "fulfill its Roadmap obligation to freeze all settlement activity"; says encouraged by determination of US efforts.

Ban Ki-moon speaking 311 AP (photo credit: Associated Press)
Ban Ki-moon speaking 311 AP
(photo credit: Associated Press)
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed regret that "Israel will not heed the united call of the international extend the settlement restraint policy," in a statement issued by his spokesman early Thursday morning.
In the statement, Ki-moon reiterated his "urging Israel to fulfill its Roadmap obligation to freeze all settlement activity in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem."
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The spokesman continued, "In spite of this setback, the secretary-general believes it is more important than ever to promote a negotiated end-game for a two-State solution."
Ki-moon added that he "is encouraged that the United States has indicated its determination to continue its efforts in this direction and he urges the full cooperation of the parties towards that end." The secretary-general, the statement noted, "is looking forward to these matters being discussed in the days to come among all members of the Quartet."
The US earlier this week, announced that it was giving up on securing an extended settlement freeze as a move to bring the two parties back to the negotiating table. Israel has resisted calls to implement an additional West Bank building moratorium and the Palestinians have said they will not return to direct negotiations without a freeze in place.
Washington said its new approach on the Israeli- Palestinian peace process will be to focus on the final-status issues.
“We’re going to focus on the substance and try to make progress on the core issues themselves. We think that will create the kind of momentum we need to get to sustained and meaningful negotiations,” US State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said Wednesday.
“I would describe this as a change in tactics rather than a change in strategy. It’s not a change of our objectives at all,” he said.
He said that he didn’t anticipate the Israelis and Palestinians meeting together in Washington in the coming days, but avoided characterizing the process as returning to the proximity talks that were held before the launch of direct talks.