UN Chief Calls PA to Return to Negotiations

By Elad Benari | Israel National News | September 15, 2011

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moonUnited Nations chief Ban Ki-moon called the Palestinian Authority on Thursday to return to talks with Israel, the Al-Arabiya network reported.

Ban was quoted as saying the peace deadlock between the two sides is harming the whole Middle East. He added both sides must make concessions to get back into talks.

"I am asking them to enter into meaningful negotiations and the international community has a duty to create some conditions favorable to this," Ban told a press conference.

He said Israel's approval for construction of new homes in the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria "has not been helpful," but added, "At the same time, Palestinians should also try to sit together with Israeli people."

"I am deeply concerned that with the lack of progress in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations," Ban was quoted as saying. "We are now experiencing very deteriorating, rapidly deteriorating situations between and among many important players in the region."

The UN leader referred to the downgrade in the relations between Israel and Turkey and last week's attack on the Israeli Embassy in Cairo, saying the Israeli-Turkish relationship "is now going in a very negative way" and adding the embassy attack was "very worrisome."

Ban called for "strong regional leadership for lasting peace and security in the Middle East."

Ban's comments came after PA Foreign Minister Riad al-Malki announced Thursday that the entity plans to submit its bid for full UN membership with the Security Council on Friday, September 23.

The announcement ended speculation that Abbas would consider alternate plans forwarded by various diplomats who had frantically tried to dissuade the PA from pursuing a unilateral course via the UN.

Last week, Ban reaffirmed his support for an independent Palestinian state, but said UN membership for the PA was an issue for member states to decide.

One member, the United States, has already announced it will veto any statehood bid by the PA.