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UN chief calls for just, comprehensive settlement to Arab-Israeli conflict

Source: Xinhua | 01-22-2009 08:01

Special Report:   Israel airstrikes in Gaza

UNITED NATIONS, Jan. 21 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said here Wednesday that "a true end to violence, and lasting security for both Palestinians and Israelis, will only come through a just and comprehensive settlement to the Arab-Israeli conflict."

"This effort must have at its center the implementation of the Security Council resolutions and the framework of the Arab Peace Initiative," he said, referring to the peace roadmap which supports the establishment an independent Palestinian State to live in peace and security with neighboring Israel.

Ban, who just returned from his week-long visit to the Middle East to press for an early truce in Gaza, made the statements as he was briefing the 15-strong Security Council on his Middle East tour. The UN chief lost his voice from the intense diplomacy and asked UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Lynn Pascoeto speak to the Security Council on his behalf, and he was present at the open council meeting.

"We do not need new plans and processes," he said. "We have the tools we need. We need only political will and action. Peace has eluded us for far too long."

"The violence, destruction and suffering before us have been a mark of collective political failure," he said. "We made a genuine effort last year, but we did not succeed. We must do more now."

"Nothing sort of a massive international effort is now required to support, and insist on, a resolution of this conflict," he said. "The peoples of the region, and indeed the international community, can afford no less."

"As secretary-general of the United Nations, I will continue to uphold the need for an end of the occupation that began in 1967, the creation of a Palestinian state, to coexist in peace and security alongside Israel, and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace between Israel and all its Arab neighbors," he said. "I am more determined than ever to see this achieved."

The 22-day offensive, which Israel launched on Dec. 27 with the stated aim of ending Hamas rocket attacks, claimed more than 1,300lives, 412 of them children, and wounded more than 5,450, 1,855 of them children, as well as causing widespread destruction and suffering.