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U.N. leader urges Israel to halt settlement construction and resume talks with Palestine

After negotiations failed last week U.N. leader Ban Ki-Moon called upon Israel on Wednesday to halt construction of settlements on the West Bank and resume talks with Palestinians. The U.N. secretary general said he hope that talks between Palestine and Israel, that took place last month in Jordan, could continue and “Israel’s cooperation in creating a positive dynamic is vital.”

Ban, with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at his side said “all Israeli settlements are contrary to international law and prejudice” the outcome of a final peace deal. Ban spoke of Abbas’ leadership and gave him his support on key issues. This include Palestine’s demand to immediately stop building on occupied land they want for their state.

Earlier in the day at a joint press conference with Netanyahu, Ban said “This is the moment to display further leadership to ensure that negotiations continue.” Netanyahu thanked Ban for trying to help but said “It cannot be a precondition to enter into that agreement” referring to the settlements.

On Sunday, Netanyahu told his cabinet the chances of talks resuming were “not particularly good.” According to a press release from the Prime Ministers office,  Netanyahu spoke to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday and told her Israel had intentions to continue the talks but within the confines of maintaining Israel’s security interest.

While Israel has called for direct negotiations without preconditions. The Palestinians have said Israel accepting pre-1967 lines and the freezing of settlement construction as a basis for negotiations of Palestine’s borders.


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