UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon called on Wednesday on the Palestinians to continue indirect peace talks with Tel Aviv despite Israeli settlement plans for East Jerusalem.
"I will urge them to support the proximity talks. It is crucial for the Arab countries to help create a favorable atmosphere in which the talks can succeed," he told reporters after briefing the UN Security Council on his recent trip to the Middle East.
"The goal should be to resolve all final status issues within 24 months," Ban noted, referring to the status of Jerusalem.
Ban also told journalists about his recent visit to Russia, where he attended a meeting of the Quartet of international mediators on Palestinian-Israeli peace talks.
Hopes for a solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict were dealt a serious blow by Israel's recent decision to build 1,600 houses for Jewish families in East Jerusalem, considered occupied territory under international law. East Jerusalem is also claimed by the Palestinians as the capital of their future state.
Under the internationally agreed roadmap for Middle East peace, Israel is obliged to freeze all settlement construction activity and remove unauthorized outposts built since 2001 from Palestinian territories.
UNITED NATIONS, March 24 (RIA Novosti)