January 3rd, 2012 16:30 EST
Ban Welcomes Meeting Between Israeli and Palestinian Negotiators
Ban Ki-moon commended Palestinian and Israeli negotiators for meeting today in Amman, Jordan, and called on the two sides to use the meeting to work towards a lasting solution to the Middle East conflict.
Robert Serry, the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, joined representatives of the so-called Quartet " the diplomatic grouping bringing together the UN with the European Union, Russia and the United States " for the meeting in the Jordanian capital.
In a statement issued by his spokesperson, Mr. Ban commended the two sides and voiced appreciation to King Abdullah II of Jordan and the country`s Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh for the facilitating the meeting.
The Secretary-General encourages the parties to build on this meeting and to continue working to establish forward momentum toward a lasting peace, " the statement noted.
Direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians stalled in September 2010 after Israel refused to extend its freeze on settlement activity in the occupied Palestinian territory.
That decision prompted Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to withdraw from direct talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which had only resumed a few weeks earlier after a two-year hiatus.
Senior UN officials, including Mr. Ban, have repeatedly expressed concern in recent months over the stalemate and warned that the situation on the ground could deteriorate.
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