Ban says two-state solution 'long overdue'

UN chief calls on int'l community, Palestinian and Israeli leaders to ramp up efforts to reach a peace agreement, urges Israel to halt all settlement activity in W. Bank, east J'lem, stresses importance of upholding cease-fire.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon 370 (R) (photo credit: Ki Price / Reuters)
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon 370 (R)
(photo credit: Ki Price / Reuters)
The two-state solution is long overdue, said UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday, hours ahead of the Palestinian bid to upgrade its status to a non-member state at the General Assembly.
“Achieving the two-state solution, to which both Israel and the Palestinians have committed, is long overdue,” Ban said in a message marking the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.
He stressed the need to urgently ramp up efforts to reach a solution, on the part of the international community, as well as Palestinian and Israeli leaders.
“I call on Israeli and Palestinian leaders to show vision and determination. I also urge the international community to help them forge a credible political path that will meet the legitimate aspirations of both sides.”
Addressing the recent Egyptian-brokered truce between Israel and Hamas following Operation Pillar of Defense, Ban stressed the importance of upholding the cease-fire agreement.
“The outlines of an agreement have long been clear, laid out in UN Security Council resolutions, the Madrid principles – including land for peace – the Road Map, the 2002 Arab Peace initiative and existing agreements between the parties,” he said. “What is needed now is political will and courage, as well as a sense of historic responsibility and vision for younger generations.”
The UN chief also urged Israel to halt settlement building in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, saying just activity "is contrary to international law and the Road-map, and must cease. Unilateral actions on the ground will not be accepted by the international community.”