UN Chief Urges Netanyahu, Abbas, to Carry on Talks

Ban Ki-moon speaks to Israeli PM, Palestinian Authority chief individually in a bid to rescue collapsing talks.

Contact Editor
Ari Soffer and AFP,

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
AFP photo

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has spoken separately with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to encourage them to keep alive the faltering peace process.    

Ban spoke to the pair individually by telephone on Sunday, amid fears the US-backed peace talks are close to collapse.    

The United Nations chief "strongly encouraged both sides to continue to negotiate constructively," spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Monday.    

He also "expressed the hope that the two leaders seize the opportunity offered by US efforts to find a way to move towards a two-state solution," Dujarric added.    

Israeli and PA negotiators are scheduled to meet again Wednesday with US envoy Martin Indyk.

Talks faltered over the PA's refusal to recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people, and its declared intention to pursue unilateral action as soon as the nine-month negotiating period ended on April 29.

In response, Israel indefinitely postponed the release of more than two dozen convicted terrorists.

But the negotiations were brought to the brink - and possibly over it - after Abbas signed the PA up to 15 international agencies in an attempt to unilaterally receive international recognition and in direct violation of the terms of the talks.