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UN chief ‘ashamed’ over stalled Mideast peace process

Ban Ki-moon says Jerusalem, Ramallah ultimately responsible for ending conflict; stresses that ‘nothing can excuse terrorism’

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speaks at press conference in the village of Gabcikovo near the border with Hungaryand  Slovakia, October 19, 2015. (AFP/Samuel Kubani)
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speaks at press conference in the village of Gabcikovo near the border with Hungaryand Slovakia, October 19, 2015. (AFP/Samuel Kubani)

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Friday he was “ashamed” at a lack of progress in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

“I feel guilty, ashamed of the lack of progress,” he told an event organized by foreign affairs think-tank Chatham House in London.

“Basically it’s up to the leadership of Israel and the Palestinians to put an end to the conflict,” he said.

“I am not working for a particular country or a particular policy but for the people in the region.”

The peace process has been deadlocked since a US peace mission collapsed in April 2014.

UN diplomats say Ban is hoping to get peace talks moving again before he steps down as secretary-general at the end of the year.

But last month, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused him of “stoking terrorism” after the UN chief told the UN Security Council that Palestinian attacks, that have killed more than 26 Israelis of the past four months, were the result of “human nature to reacting to occupation.”

Days after the Security Council address, Ban said his remarks were misinterpreted, but doubled down on his criticisms of Israel in a Monday Op-Ed in The New York Times titled “Don’t Shoot the Messenger, Israel.”

However, he stressed again on Friday that “Nothing can excuse terrorism.”

The UN chief also last week expressed “alarm” at Hamas’s pledge to keep building attack tunnels from the Gaza Strip into Israel and to advance the development of rockets to fire at the Jewish state.

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