Ban for West Asia quartet conference in Moscow

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Moscow, Apr 10 (UNI) United Nation's Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has backed the Russian initiative to hold the Quartet peace conference on West Asia in Moscow.

''I support the initiative of the Russian government to hold a Moscow peace conference sometime in the near future,'' the UN Secretary General Ban said who is on a two-day official visit to Moscow told RIA Novosti in an interview.

''I understand that your government has been actively consulting with the parties concerned in the region,'' he said adding ''If it is decided, I will certainly participate in the meeting.'' The Quartet' on West Asia which includes Russia, US, EU and UN, is scheduled to hold talks in Jordanian capital Amman on April 17.

Mr Ban also hailed the Annapolis peace initiative, saying the international community has launched a ''very important process.'' ''We must build upon this Annapolis peace process, but regrettably the situation which has developed on the ground has undermined the whole peace process at this time,'' he pointed out.

He noted that while it was encouraging that the bilateral dialogue between Prime Minister Olmert and President Abbas has been continuing, the situation taking place in the region had not been beneficial or encouraging to this ongoing peace process.

''Therefore if and when this Moscow conference is held, it will provide a very good opportunity for parties concerned to build upon and discuss in more depth how we can ensure peace and stability in the region,'' the Secretary General said.

Answering a question on UN reform, he said the reform of the United Nations is very necessary, so that it can be trusted and gain confidence from its member states.

''The United Nations should be reborn to be more effective and efficient,'' he stressed.

Mr Ban held talks yesterday with the outgoing Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin. Mr Putin told him Russia considers the United Nations ''the key element of today's entire international system.'' ''Russia and the UN enjoy very close relations and Russia is not only a founding member of the UN, but one of its most active,'' he said.

He also called on President-elect Dmitry Medvedev to discuss Moscow's role in the UN.

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