16 May 2013 Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in separate conversations with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, stressed the need for the parties to create the conditions conducive to resuming meaningful negotiations, his spokesperson said today.
“The Secretary-General strongly encouraged the ongoing efforts towards the resumption of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, and expressed his hope that they will lead to a substantial peace initiative soon,” Eduardo del Buey told reporters in New York.
The spokesperson said that Mr. Ban also discussed the situation on the ground, including in East Jerusalem, during his phone conversations with the leaders over the past two days.
“Regarding the recent tensions in East Jerusalem, and more particularly restrictions of access to Muslim and Christian holy sites, the Secretary-General conveyed his concerns to the Israeli authorities, urging Israel to abide by its obligations under international humanitarian law,” said Mr. del Buey.
“The Secretary-General stressed to both leaders the importance of respect for the religious freedom of all, and that worshippers of all faiths should have access to their holy sites.”
Mr. Ban has repeatedly stated that 2013 will be a critical year for the peace process, and urged both leaders to make a concerted push to salvage the two-State solution.
News Tracker: past stories on this issue