New York, 11 Muharram 1437/24 October 2015 (MINA) – UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Friday called on Israeli and Palestinian leaders to hold face-to-face talks to bring an end to a weeks-long wave of violence.
Ban’s remarks came at a news conference in New York following his three-day visit to the region, in which he met, separately, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu, Anadolu Agency quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) as reporting.
“I strongly suggested and urged them to sit down together. There is no substitute to direct talks at the leaders level,” Ban said.
“This is at heart a political conflict that will require a serious negotiation process by two partners willing to make the necessary compromises to reach the long-desired goal of a two-state solution”, he added.
At least 53 Palestinians and 10 Israelis have been killed since the start of October.
The unrest flared last month when Israeli authorities launched a crackdown on Palestinians at Al-Aqsa Mosque complex, which is Islam’s third-holiest site, while strengthening extremist Jewish settlers’ rights at the site.
Regarding Palestinians’ calls for an international protection force to be deployed at Jerusalem’s holy sites, Ban said he had submitted to the Security Council a report that summarized the UN protection regimes deployed in disputed territories in the past.
“It is now in the hands of Security Council and President Abbas strongly asked [for] international protection or presence,” he said. “I made it clear to the members of the Security Council that while I distribute this compendium, this does not suggest any policy option or policy recommendation from my part.”
Israel has repeatedly said it will not accept the presence of any international force on Temple Mount, the Jewish term for the Al-Aqsa site. (T/P010/R04)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)