UN chief urges Israel, Palestine to avoid unilateral steps

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United Nations
United Nations, May 2: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon on Thursday urged both Israel and Palestine to exercise prudence and avoid unilateral steps that would "diminish the prospects" for the resumption of negotiations.

"It is incumbent upon the parties to convince each other that they were partners for peace. The international community too must uphold its long-stated commitment to realising a comprehensive peace settlement," Xinhua quoted Ban as saying.

The UN chief said that now it was the time for the international community and the parties alike to reflect on how to preserve the prospects for a two-state solution.

The statement came two days after a day-long debate of the Security Council in which member states urged both parties to resume talks.

Amid efforts to extend the negotiations beyond April 29 deadline, Israel suspended the talks last week after the Palestinian Fatah faction signed a reconciliation agreement with Hamas.

Israel recognises Hamas as a terrorist organisation that calls for Israel's annihilation.

The two sides resumed negotiations last July following efforts by US Secretary of State John Kerry, after a three-year halt in official diplomatic contacts.

IANS

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