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UN chief asks for political will for Mideast peace

UNITED NATIONS, Feb. 11 (Xinhua) — UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday asked for political will from Israeli and Palestinian leaders to advance peace in the Middle East.

“This is a time for dialogue, for reconciliation, for reason. I urge Israeli and Palestinian leaders to demonstrate the necessary will required to advance the goal of a just and lasting peace, which the international community must support,” Guterres told the Security Council, which met to discuss the newly released U.S. Middle East peace plan.

He reiterated his full personal commitment and the commitment of the United Nations to supporting the parties in their effort to achieve a two-state solution.

“As I stated recently, the position of the United Nations in this regard has been defined, throughout the years, by resolutions of the Security Council and the General Assembly, by which the (UN) Secretariat is bound.”

The United Nations remains committed to supporting Palestinians and Israelis to resolve the conflict on the basis of relevant UN resolutions, international law and bilateral agreements and realizing the vision of two states — Israel and Palestine — living side by side in peace and security within recognized borders, on the basis of the pre-1967 lines, he said.

“Rest assured of the full commitment of the United Nations to a just and comprehensive peace between Palestinians and Israelis based on our shared multilateral framework set by United Nations resolutions and international law.”

Tuesday’s meeting was requested by Tunisia and Indonesia after U.S. President Donald Trump on Jan. 28 revealed a controversial Middle East peace plan, which calls for a two-state solution while recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s “undivided capital.” The U.S. plan was immediately rejected by Palestine and the Arab world.

Apart from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Guterres on Tuesday highlighted “growing tensions and instability around the globe, particularly in the Middle East.”

“Tensions and risks in the Gulf have risen to troubling levels. And after seeing some promising developments last year, today we are witnessing dangerous re-escalations of the conflicts in Yemen, Syria, and even Libya.”

This volatile context only underscores the need for a political solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which has lasted for far too long, and which remains crucial to sustainable peace in the Middle East, he told the council.

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