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Ban Ki Moon to step in and urge tripartite talks in New York

Sept. 19, 2009 11:44 A.M. (Updated: Sept. 21, 2009 12:37 P.M.)
Bethlehem - Ma’an - UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon will make efforts to speak with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu around peace talks, the UN leader said Thursday.

As US shuttle diplomacy efforts to secure a tripartite meeting between US, Israeli and Palestinian leaders ended without securing a the hoped-for meeting, Ban told journalists in New York that he would “try to meet individually those leaders” when they arrive in New York next week.

“My position at this time is that this tripartite meeting will provide good opportunities for leaders of both Israel and Palestine, and of course the United States, to address all the pending issues, to address differences of their policies. I know that there is still serious gap in bridging the differences... I sincerely hope that we will see some positive outcome from this meeting,” Ban noted.

The UN leader went further, announcing that he would “participate, and in fact convene a Quartet meeting,” set to be held on 22 September as well as meet with the Arab Follow-Up Committee members on 26 September.

Responding to a question over whether Ban thought he would be able to persuade sides to sit together given the unresolved issue of settlement construction, he answered, “I don't know if I have a responsibility to ensure it. But I will try my best to facilitate this.”

UN-Commissioned Goldstone report

Ban also addressed questions around whether he would support international proceedings around the war crimes findings in the recently released Goldstone report on Israel’s Operation Cast Lead, which killed more than 1,400 Palestinians in 22 days.

“I believe that accountability for violations of international human rights and international humanitarian law is essential to both protection of human dignity and the quest for sustainable peace and security,” the UN secretary began, noting he has been “supporting Judge Goldstone's mission to investigate any violations of human rights and humanitarian laws in Gaza.”

He noted that he continued to communicate with Justice Goldstone about the report and recommendations would come following a full review.

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