Ban calls for Middle East peace talks

Nov. 30, 2012 at 12:37 PM

UNITED NATIONS, Nov. 30 (UPI) -- Israeli and Palestinian leaders are called on to "breathe new life" into the Middle East peace process, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said.

A resolution to upgrade that status of Palestine passed Thursday in the U.N. General Assembly. The move gives the territories greater access to world institutions, including the International Criminal Court. The U.S. and Israeli governments were among the few that voted against the resolution.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice said the "unfortunate and counterproductive resolution" was an obstacle to peace.

"That is why the United States voted against it."

The Palestinian Liberation Organization described the resolution as a way to break the political deadlock and move forward with the Middle East peace process.

Ban called on all sides to work on relaunching peace negotiations.

"I call on Israeli and Palestinian leaders to breathe new life into the peace process, which is now on life support," he said.

A Friday report in The New York Times states that Israel was working on the early stages of a settlement project that would mean Ramallah and Bethlehem would be cut off from East Jerusalem. Another 3,000 housing units were planned for East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

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