With Middle East violence rising, Annan calls for efforts to negotiate settlement


Voicing alarm at the renewed violence between Israel and the Palestinians in recent weeks, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today called on both sides to work for a negotiated settlement.

In a statement released by his spokesman, the Secretary-General said the recent suicide bombing in Netanya and rockets fired from Gaza killing innocent Israeli civilians “are shocking and condemnable.” He also welcomed efforts by the Palestinian Authority security forces to prevent them.

Mr. Annan noted that Israel “has resumed forceful action in the face of the serious deterioration that has shattered the lull in violence of the past few months.” While stressing Israel’s legitimate right to self-defence, he said “it must be exercised proportionately and in conformity with international law.”

The Secretary-General emphasized that at this critical moment “a glimmer of a better future with two States living side-by-side in peace still exists” and called for all committed to a negotiated settlement to “remain focused on this goal.”

STATEMENT ATTRIBUTABLE TO THE SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL ON RECENT MIDDLE EAST VIOLENCE

The Secretary-General views with alarm the renewed violence between Israel and the Palestinians in the past fortnight. The recent suicide bombing in Netanya and rockets fired from Gaza killing innocent Israeli civilians are shocking and condemnable. There is a pressing need to put a stop to such actions. The recent move by the Palestinian Authority security forces to act to prevent them was a welcome development.

Israel has resumed forceful action in the face of the serious deterioration that has shattered the lull in violence of the past few months. There should be no doubt about Israel’s legitimate right to self-defence, but it must be exercised proportionately and in conformity with international law.

The Secretary-General strongly believes that at this critical moment a glimmer of a better future with two States living side-by-side in peace still exists. It is therefore essential that all committed to a negotiated settlement remain focused on this goal.

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