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UN chief to support peace talks in Middle East

Updated: 2013-08-14 15:44
( Xinhua)

UNITED NATIONS - UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will travel to the Middle East later this week to support peace talks between Palestine and Israel, a spokesperson said on Tuesday.

Ban will head first to Jordan, where he will meet King Abdullah II and the country's foreign minister, before traveling to the Palestinian territory of Ramallah and Jerusalem.

The UN chief is expected to meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, and hold talks with Israeli President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, UN deputy spokesperson Eduardo del Buey told reporters here at a daily briefing.

He will also meet the lead Israeli and Palestinian negotiators and the US special envoy for the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, Martin Indyk, del Buey said.

The secretary-general will also visit the graves of former Palestinian President Yasser Arafat and former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

When asked about Ban's specific message to the Palestinian and Israeli leaders, the deputy spokesperson said "it would be a message of support for the Middle East peace talks," adding "the Secretary-General is involved in the Middle East peace process as one of the principal members of the (Middle East) Quartet. "

The Quartet, which comprises the UN, the European Union, Russia and the United States, was set up in 2002 to facilitate a peace agreement based on the widely backed two-State solution: a secure state of Israel living in peace with an independent state of Palestine.

A UN spokesperson said on July 30 that the Middle East Quartet welcomed the resumption of direct talks between Israelis and Palestinians.

"The Quartet commends both President Abbas and Prime Minister Netanyahu for taking this courageous decision in the interest of their peoples, and is determined to lend its effective support to the efforts of the parties and their shared commitment to achieve a negotiated two-state solution within the agreed timeframe of nine months," the statement said.

The quartet called on all parties to take every possible step to promote conditions conducive to the success of the negotiating process and to refrain from actions that undermine trust, it said.

It hoped "renewed negotiations will be substantive and continuous and set a clear path towards a two-state solution, the end of conflict, and lasting peace and security for both Israelis and Palestinians."

Israel and the Palestinians resumed peace talks on July 29 over a dinner hosted by US Secretary of State John Kerry. It came almost three years after the last direct talks broke down between Netanyahu and Abbas.

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