UN envoys see no ME progress toward Bush 'roadmap' for peace deal

Two top UN envoys said Tuesday there has been no progress toward US President George W. Bush's roadmap for an Israeli-Palestinian peace settlement, and warned miserable living conditions in the Gaza Strip and West Bank could derail a two-state solution. "The talks need to make tangible progress on all core issues without exception," Robert Serry, the UN's Middle East peace envoy said. "From what I have seen in several field visits, including to the West Bank, Gaza and southern Israel, ordinary people understandably have little confidence that the political process is delivering. ... The Annapolis process can only be sustained by real changes on the ground." The hardships facing people in Gaza also "have created a dangerous cocktail for Israel, Egypt and the Palestinians, causing deep suffering and damaging prospects for a two-state solution," Serry said. Meanwhile, UN Humanitarian Chief John Holmes, who visited Israel and the Palestinian territories for five days in mid-February, also described people living in Gaza under conditions "grim and miserable, and far from "normal" since Hamas took over running the area in June 2007.