MIDDLE EAST

U.N. chief: Middle East rivals must show ‘courage’ in peace talks

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas discussed a U.S-brokered resumption of peace talks on Thursday. (Reuters)

Israeli and Palestinian leaders must show “courage and responsibility” to maintain peace talks revived by the United States, U.N. leader Ban Ki-moon said Friday.

The remarks, reported by Ban’s spokesman, came after U.S. Secretary of State Kerry announced that an accord had been reached to resume talks between the Middle East rivals, which have been frozen since September 2010.

Ban welcomed the announcement.

“He is encouraged by this positive development and calls on both sides to show leadership, courage, and responsibility to sustain this effort towards achieving the two-state vision,” spokesman Martin Nesirky said, according to AFP.

“The United Nations will support any endeavor towards meaningful negotiations and to the achievement of a comprehensive peace in the region,” he said.

Kerry’s announcement came after he spent four days consulting the Israeli and Palestinian leadership from his base in an Amman hotel.

“I am pleased to announce that we have reached an agreement that establishes a basis for resuming direct final status negotiations between the Palestinians and the Israelis,” he told reporters in Amman just minutes before boarding his plane to fly home.

“This is a significant and welcome step forward,” he added, having doggedly pushed the two sides to agree to resume talks in six intense trips to the region since becoming the top U.S. diplomat in February.

But the top U.S. diplomat cautioned he would remain tight-lipped about the details.

“I think all of us know that candid, private conversations are the very best way to preserve the time and the space for progress and understanding when you face difficult, complicated issues such as Middle East peace,” he said.

“The agreement is still in the process of being formalized, so we are absolutely not going to talk about any of the elements now.”

Kerry added that Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat and his Israeli counterpart Tzipi Livni would meet him in Washington “to begin initial talks within the next week or so.”

(With AFP)
 

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Last Update: Saturday, 20 July 2013 KSA 11:39 - GMT 08:39
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