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UN Chief Committed to Israeli and Palestinian States

  • Margaret Besheer

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has pledged his personal support to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and is urging both parties not to let recent violence derail the peace process. From United Nations headquarters in New York, VOA's Margaret Besheer has more.

The secretary-general told members of the Security Council that he and his senior advisors would work diligently with every means available to them to end the conflict and realize the creation of a Palestinian State living side by side in peace and security with Israel.

"This process is too important to be allowed to lose momentum through inaction or indifference, or to be overwhelmed by violence," he said. "It is essential that it receives the support of the international community, including this Council."

Undersecretary-General for Political Affairs Lynn Pascoe briefed the council. He expressed concern that efforts to advance the political process are being overshadowed by violence, high numbers of civilian casualties and a lack of concrete improvements on the ground.

He said it is very important that the political process is even continuing, given the many negative developments. And he welcomed on-going discussions about a proposed international meeting in Moscow in the coming months, saying the U.N. supports such an initiative.

Each month the U.N. secretariat briefs the council on the situation in the Middle East. The Israeli and Palestinian representatives also address the forum, as do the council's 15 members, and often other countries with interests in region.

U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad asked the council whether the format of these debates is really helpful to solving the crisis between the Arabs and Israelis. He told reporters later that the United States is not calling for an end to these monthly meetings, but whether the public format of the debate helps create the necessary environment for pursuing peace.

"The constructive role the international community, the Security Council, the United Nations can play, is to help the parties realize this vision of a two-state solution. But often these meetings tend to get polarized, tend to be used as opportunities for posturing, rather than doing what is necessary to help the parties," said Khalilzad.

The Palestinian representative said he is open to any constructive suggestion that would allow the Security Council to shoulder its responsibility in a concrete way to help end the conflict.