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Ban tells Israelis, Palestinians ‘stand firm against violence’


Jerusalem: UN chief Ban Ki-moon on Monday urged Israelis and Palestinians not to allow extremists on either side to fan violence, as he arrived as part of a Middle East tour.

“Do not allow the extremism on either side to fuel the… conflict,” he said in remarks at Tel Aviv University.

“Palestinians and Israelis leaders must stand firm against violence, terror and incitement.”

Ban continued the theme at a meeting with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin in Jerusalem.

“Stabbings, bombings and shootings will not achieve anything because violence is never a solution,” he said.

The United Nations Secretary General is to hold talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday, as part of a packed schedule in which he will also visit the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, occupied by Israel since the 1976 Six Day War.

“Nearly 50 years of occupation has had a devastating impact on Palestinian lives undermining the belief in a peaceful resolution to the conflict,” Ban said in Jerusalem. “It also has not brought security to the Israelis.

“I firmly believe that a negotiated two-state solution remains the only viable option to prevent a perpetual conflict,” he added.

Netanyahu was originally expected to meet Ban on Monday but he was in Rome for talks with US Secretary of State John Kerry on stalled peace efforts with the Palestinians.

That meeting came ahead of a report by the Quartet — the United Nations, the European Union, the United States and Russia — on the peace process.

The review by the diplomatic contact group is expected to be critical of Israeli policies in the occupied West Bank.

“I encourage Israeli and Palestinian leaders to engage with the Quartet on its recommendations and on creating the conditions for the resumption of meaningful negotiations,” Ban said.

He kicked off his Middle East tour in Kuwait on Sunday.

On Tuesday he goes to Gaza to inspect a UN-run girls primary school, then on to Ramallah in the West Bank for talks with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas and prime minister Rami Hamdallah.

Agence France-Presse

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