Ban meets Israeli PM on regional issues

United Nations: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and discussed regional situation, including the risks posed by incitement, violent extremism and terrorism.

The meeting took place at UN Headquarters in New York on the sidelines of the annual high-level debate of the UN General Assembly, which continued for the fourth day here on Thursday.

“The secretary-general noted the tensions on the ground in the West Bank, including east Jerusalem, and reiterated his call on both sides to prevent any escalation,” Xinhua quoted Ban’s spokesman as saying.

“In this regard, he referred to the prime minister’s public commitment to maintain the status quo on the holy sites.”

“The secretary-general also underscored the dangers that violence and provocations pose to both Israeli and Palestinian civilians,” the statement said.

“He welcomed Israel’s easing of some restrictions on the movement of people and goods and urged the prime minister to make significant policy changes that will have a concrete impact on the lives of Palestinians,” said the spokesman.

“The secretary-general reiterated his call on Israel to cease all settlement activity and demolitions while enabling access for Palestinians to a fair planning system,” the spokesman said.

The two also discussed the need to return to peace negotiations without further delay, with the secretary-general noting the broad international expectation on the parties to show leadership and take the decisions needed to implement a two-state solution.