Ban pressures Peres over settlements

Turkish president on the ‘Mavi Marmara:’ In the old world, wars would follow.

Peres Ban 311 (photo credit: Associated Press)
Peres Ban 311
(photo credit: Associated Press)
NEW YORK – Amid a flurry of General Assembly-related activity at the United Nations on Monday, President Shimon Peres had private bilateral meetings with UN Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
Peres and Ban discussed the Iranian nuclear threat and the status of negotiations with the Palestinians. Peres spoke about the peace talks with Abbas.
The Secretary-General “stressed the significance of extending and expanding in scope the Israeli Government’s settlement restraint,” according to a statement on the meeting issued by the Secretary- General’s office.
In his meeting with Peres, Ban discussed the UN and Quartet’s support of direct negotiations, with Ban reiterating “his belief that negotiations are the only way for Israel and the Palestinians to resolve all final status issues and realize their aspirations,” a spokesperson for the Secretary General’s office said.
According to a readout of the meeting provided by Ban’s office, the two men talked of the need “to maintain calm on the ground and to create a conducive environment for successful negotiations,” discussing Israeli concerns about security regarding Gaza.
“The Secretary-General repeated his condemnation of rocket attacks on Israel, and spoke of the positive impact of the change in policy towards Gaza, including his hope that it would be sustained and further expanded,” the statement read.
On Tuesday, in an address to the UN’s Ad Hoc Liaison Committee, Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon noted that the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East peace process, Robert Serry, had praised the “genuine headway” made by Israel in approving international projects, concluding that Israeli measures had helped generate 16 percent growth in Gaza in the first half of 2010.
“While Israel will continue to facilitate the entry of goods, we have little choice but to maintain the current security regime to prevent the flow of terrorists and arms in and out of Gaza,” Ayalon said, calling upon the international community to join efforts to stop illegal arms smuggling into Gaza in accordance with Security Council Resolution 1860 and the Quartet Statement of June 21, 2010.
Ayalon cautioned against unauthorized flotillas, which he said “seek only violence, escalation and instant media headlines in an effort to delegitimize Israel.”
Turkish President Abdullah Gul, also in New York for the UN assembly, told the AP on Monday that Israel still needs to take public responsibility for the Turkish flotilla incident that left nine passengers dead. “In the old world, in the old times, if such an incident were to take place, wars would follow.

AP contributed to this report.