U.N. envoy: Palestinians, Israel are further apart from reaching peace

Nickolay Mladenov warned that support for a Palestinian state co-existing peacefully with Israel 'is fading away'.

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The United Nations Mideast envoy has warned on Thursday that “the rise of violent extremism and terrorism" in the Middle East poses as much a danger to Palestinian statehood aspirations as to Israel's security”.

Nickolay Mladenov warned the U.N. Security Council that support for a Palestinian state co-existing peacefully with Israel “is fading away.” Mladenov added that the elusive two-state solution is further threatened by Israel's occupation of Palestinian territory and settlement construction there, along with violence, security problems and lack of Palestinian unity.

“Israel and the Palestinians are now further apart than ever from achieving peace and two-state solution, he said. “Now is the time to act decisively to reverse the growing perception that the two-state solution is on life support,” said Mladenov.

The U.N. special coordinator for the Middle East peace process urged the international community to work with Israelis and Palestinians to return “to meaningful negotiations on the basis of an agreed framework and within a reasonable timeframe.”

He noted a European Union-backed proposal to establish an international support group that could contribute to “a reinvigorated effort” to create the conditions for renewed talks. It would include Arab nations and others.

Israel's U.N. Ambassador Ron Prosor stressed that Hamas, which controls Gaza, still refuses to recognize Israel, accept previous peace agreements and renounce violence - all preconditions for a lasting peace deal.

On his part, Palestinian Ambassador Riyad Mansour blamed Israel for blocking peace efforts and urged the Security Council “to move forward now on reaffirming the parameters for peace”.

“The foundations for peace must be firmly set before this opportunity is lost to us and the two-state solution is relegated to the archives of history,” said Mansour.

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