Ban urges Israelis, Palestinians to defuse tensions, prevent escalation

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speaks on the telephone [file photo]. UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras

22 September 2015 – United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged both the Israeli and Palestinian sides to defuse tensions and prevent an escalation of the current situation on the ground, during a recent phone call with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

During Saturday’s phone call, the Secretary-General and President Abbas exchanged views on the recent tensions at the Haram al Sharif/Temple Mount compound, according to a readout issued by Mr. Ban’s spokesperson.

The Secretary-General regretted recent instances of inflammatory rhetoric which will only serve to increase mistrust and worsen an already difficult situation on the ground and urged all to refrain from it.

Last week, the escalating tensions around holy sites in Jerusalem drew concern from Mr. Ban and the UN Security Council. In his call with President Abbas, the Secretary-General stressed the need for the status quo at the holy sites to be maintained.

Mr. Ban has also condemned the rocket attacks by extremist Palestinian militants on Israel from Gaza earlier this week.

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