In Jerusalem, UN team holds ‘intensive and productive’ talks on current crisis – official

The aftermath of Israel’s attack on Lebanon, July 16, 2006. (IRINNews/Peter Speetjens)

A member of the United Nations team dispatched to the Middle East to defuse the current crisis said today in Jerusalem that talks with senior Israeli officials were “good, intensive and productive” and the dialogue will continue in the coming days.

“The UN delegation has presented concrete ideas on how to resolve the current crisis and reach an end of hostilities,” Terje Roed-Larsen, a member of the team led by Vijay Nambiar which also includes Alvaro de Soto, said in a statement following their meeting with Israeli Foreign Minister Tzippi Livni. Those ideas, he added, were also presented to Lebanese counterparts.

“The Government of Israel will now deliberate on these ideas and so will their counterparts in Lebanon,” he said, adding that the dialogue would continue with both Israeli and Lebanese interlocutors in the days ahead.

As the team headed to the Prime Minister’s office to continue their dialogue, Mr. Roed-Larsen said it would be “counter-productive” to share details of the discussions that have taken place.

“But,” he added, “I can assure you that the Secretary-General and his team are working very hard on specific ideas to get us out of the current crisis.”

In Brussels today, Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who has been personally addressing the situation including at the recent G8 Summit in Saint Petersburg, said the team is trying to find a way of getting the parties to end the hostilities.

“They want to see the soldiers released, they want to see the Hizbollah shelling stop, they want to see the Israel shelling and bombardment stop, and they are in discussions with the parties,” he said.

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