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Ban hopes for two-state solution in Mideast by end of 2012

posted 31 Jan 2012, 05:46 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 31 Jan 2012, 05:46 ]
The United Nations secretary general says he hopes for a two-state solution in the Middle East by the end of the year and urges the Security Council to take action over Syria.
AMMAN, JORDAN (JANUARY 31, 2012) (REUTERS) - The United Nations secretary general called on world powers on Tuesday (January 31) to help end the impasse in the Middle East, following the failure of recent exploratory talks aimed at resuming peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

The talks ended in Jordan on January 25 without achieving any progress and Palestinian officials said President Mahmoud Abbas planned to consult fellow Arabs on his next move.

Speaking in Amman, Ban ki-Moon said a solution had to be found.

"A two-state solution, where Israel and the Palestinians can live side by side in peace and security is long overdue. We must all do our part to break this impasse," he told a news conference, ahead of a visit to the Palestinian territories and Israel to meet officials from both sides.

The U.N. secretary general also expressed hope that the preliminary talks would continue, eventually leading to the creation of a Palestinian state.

"I hope that the preparatory meetings which have taken place, for five rounds of meetings here, will continue and will ultimately lead to serious negotiations to reach an agreement for a two-state solution by the end of this year," Ban said.

The Amman talks were proposed last year by the Quartet of international mediators, after the Palestinians decided to seek United Nations membership for the state they have been seeking, saying Israel was not serious about reaching a peace deal.

The Israeli prime minister, meanwhile, said that peace prospects with the Palestinians looked poor after the Amman talks, where he said the Palestinians "refused even to discuss Israel's security needs".

On Syria, Ban said he hoped the Security Council would reflect international will when it deliberates a draft resolution calling on President Bashar al-Assad to quit power.

"I don't think we can go on like this way. So many people have already been killed, even with the League of Arab States monitoring missions have been there, more than few hundred people have been killed already. Every day, tens of people are killed, so this should stop immediately. Therefore it is crucially important for the Security Council to act on this matter," Ban said.

The Arab League, backed by the United States, France and Britain will ask the Council on Tuesday to adopt the resolution. Russia, one of Syria's few allies, has objected to it on the grounds it could pave the way for military intervention in Syria.

Ban also urged the Syrian president to take 'decisive action' and to work towards meeting the aspirations of his people.

Ten months into an anti-government uprising, fighting has entered a new phase in recent weeks, with Syrian government forces losing control of parts of the country.

The United Nations said in December that more than 5,000 people had been killed in the protests and crackdown. Syria says more than 2,000 security force members have been killed by militants.