WASHINGTON, June 4 (UPI) -- Members of the international community are called on to stand by U.S. efforts to make progress on Middle East peace, the U.N. secretary-general said.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addressed members of the American Jewish Committee via video feed during a global forum in Washington. He said there was a growing consensus among international delegates that maintaining the status quo with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict wasn't working.
He said he was supporting an effort by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to give the peace process new momentum.
"I have been, and will remain, outspoken in my insistence that Israel has a right to live in peace and security," he said in a statement Monday. "But Israel needs to stop settlement activity and take concrete action to end the occupation."
Kerry met last month with Israeli leaders to push the peace process forward. Kerry told the AJC late Monday security will blossom "in a strong, secure Israel that lives peacefully alongside a viable Palestinian state."
Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, the lead negotiator on the Palestinian issues, told the forum the only way to ensure regional peace was to keep Israel as a Jewish state living side-by-side with a "Palestinian state for the Palestinians."
She expressed concern, however, about an increase in the regional Arab population. She also called for a dual strategy of containing Hamas, which governs Gaza, by moving closer to the Palestinian Authority.