UN, Russia intent on restarting peace

UN's Ban, Lavrov commit to pushing Israel and Palestinians to resume talks.

Ban Ki-moon & Lavrov 311 (photo credit: Associated Press)
Ban Ki-moon & Lavrov 311
(photo credit: Associated Press)
MOSCOW — Russia and the United Nations vowed Thursday to resuscitate Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, whose prospects collapsed following Israel's announcement it would build new homes in east Jerusalem.
Visiting UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said that Friday's meeting of the so-called Quartet of international mediators in Moscow should help restart talks.
"There is no other alternative to direct peace talks," Ban said after a meeting Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
Lavrov said that the main goal of the mediators – Russia, the United States, the UN and the European Union – is to persuade Israel and the Palestinians to resume talks.
He said the Quartet would issue a strong joint statement when their Moscow meeting concludes Friday.
"Quartet members are fully committed to end their meeting with a very concrete, clear document that that will confirm all previous decisions of the world community about conditions and parameters of direct talks between Israel and Palestinians," Lavrov said.
The Moscow talks were planned to coincide with the start of indirect talks between the Israelis and Palestinians. But the talks fell apart before they started after Israel announced that it would build 1,600 apartments for Jews in east Jerusalem, where Palestinians hope to build a future capital.
US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has called the announcement, which came during a visit by US Vice President Joe Biden, an insult and "a deeply negative signal" for the peace process.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Nesterenko on Thursday expressed hope the participants in the Moscow talks – including Lavrov, former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton – can find a compromise that would allow the peace talks to resume.
"We and our partners will search for ways out of the current dangerous impasse in the peace process," he said.
TheUN chief on Thursday also signed a cooperation agreement with aRussia-led security alliance of ex-Soviet nations, called theCollective Security Treaty Organization, which some see as acounterbalance to NATO.
"This is a very important part of UNefforts to promote cooperation with regional organizations," he said,adding that the areas of cooperation could include border security,drug trafficking and organized crime.