Ban urges parties to Middle East peace talks to overcome hurdles
28 October 2010Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today reiterated his call on Israeli and Palestinian leaders to work with determination to overcome obstacles to the peace talks which resumed recently, while pledging to continue supporting the process. “The parties must engage with determination to overcome obstacles and find a way for the negotiations to bring about a comprehensive peace,” Mr. Ban said in a message to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean (PAM), which opened today in Morocco’s capital, Rabat.He pledged his full support for the peace process, working with partners in the diplomatic Quartet – comprising the United Nations, the European Union, Russia and the United States.The Secretary-General said the UN remains committed to providing assistance to the Palestinian people, and voiced support for steps taken by the Palestinian Authority towards creating institutions of “a future independent, democratic, contiguous and viable State, living side by side in peace and security with Israel and its other neighbours.“These efforts will become more relevant as the parties make progress at the negotiation table,” he added.On Gaza, the Secretary-General expressed appreciation for Israel moves to allow more imports and international projects in the territory, but added that much more needs to be done for the people living there. “I will continue to call for further measures to improve living conditions of ordinary Gazans. Restrictions on exports and on the movement of people should be lifted,” he added.Mr. Ban said he looks forward to continuing to work with PAM, saying the assembly’s voice and role in the Mediterranean region was indispensable.“You are the backbone of democracy. You make the laws, seek to uphold the rule of law, and by your very diversity, you are the voice of the people,” he said, adding that the UN and PAM share a common vision to promote dialogue, mutual understanding and peaceful coexistence in the Mediterranean region and beyond.The UN and PAM are working together to facilitate the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – the eight poverty alleviation and social development targets that States are striving to attain by 2015 – including those that are of particular concern to inhabitants of the Mediterranean region, such as access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation, he noted. Mr. Ban stressed that although peace and security, climate change, development, disarmament and human rights are global issues, they were also of great local significance. “Your voices are so important to the effective governance of our complex world, in the Mediterranean region and beyond,” he added.