UN's Ban calls on Israelis, Palestinians to show courage, leadership

EU, UN praise Kerry's announcement on resumption of talks; Ashton expresses "great hope that we may finally see progress."

Ban Ki moon *concerned, thinking* 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Albert Gea)
Ban Ki moon *concerned, thinking* 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Albert Gea)
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Friday commended US Secretary of State John Kerry for his efforts to resume peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.
“The Secretary-General welcomes the announcement by US Secretary of State Kerry today in Amman, Jordan, that the basis has been established to resume talks between Israelis and Palestinians,” Ban's spokesman said.
The statement added that Ban was encouraged by “this positive development” and called on both sides to show leadership, courage, and responsibility to sustain this effort towards achieving the two-state vision.
He noted that the UN will continue to support any endeavor towards meaningful negotiations and to the achievement of a comprehensive peace in the region.
European Union Foreign Affairs chief Catherine Ashton also welcomed Kerry's announcement stating that Israeli and Palestinian leaders had displayed "courage."
AFP quoted Ashton as saying she had "great hope that we may finally see progress towards the objectives which they share along with their friends and allies around the world.”
German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle on Saturday praised the understanding on the resumption of peace talks as "a historic chance which both sides should seize with courage and determination."
Westerwelle stated that the understanding "is a very good result of the intense mediation efforts by US Secretary of State John Kerry."
He expressed hope that "negotiations will now actually start swiftly," pledging that Berlin was prepared to "to support the negotiation process, together with its European partners."
Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy told a news conference on Saturday: "We support serious talks to take place with a set and precise time frame."
Reuters contributed to this report.