UN chief said planning final visit to Israel, Palestinian Authority
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UN chief said planning final visit to Israel, Palestinian Authority

Ban reportedly preparing late June tour of region; UN envoy says ‘radically more’ must be done to address Gaza plight

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu greets United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon before a joint press conference at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, October 20, 2015. (Photo by Kobi Gideon/GPO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu greets United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon before a joint press conference at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, October 20, 2015. (Photo by Kobi Gideon/GPO)

Outgoing UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon plans to visit Israel and the Palestinian Authority on June 26-28 on a final trip to the region before his term expires, Channel 10 reported Wednesday.

There were no further details on Ban’s agenda or goals on the trip. The UN chief’s term ends on December 31.

The UN’s top Mideast envoy said Wednesday that Palestinians in Gaza were growing ever more desperate and unless “radically more” was done to address the situation, it was only a matter of time before there would be another escalation of violence.

Nickolay Mladenov told the Security Council that May saw the biggest escalation of violence in Gaza since 2014 and that those incidents threaten the current ceasefire.

“Recent events clearly demonstrate that the specter of violence looms ominously over the territory. Unless radically more is done to address the chronic realities in Gaza, it is not a question of ‘if,’ but ‘when’ another escalation will take place,” Mladenov said, calling on donors to “support Gaza’s reconstruction, recovery and development.”

A ceasefire agreed in August 2014 “needs to be vigorously upheld by all sides if we are to avoid slipping into another devastating conflict,” he said.

UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process Nickolay Mladenov (YouTube screenshot)
UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process Nickolay Mladenov (YouTube screenshot)

He said the Quartet of Mideast mediators — the U.N., U.S., European Union and Russia — are finalizing a report on the impediments to a two state solution and how to move forward and that a number of countries will meet in Paris within “a matter of days” in hopes of reviving the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

Citing a recent study by Tel Aviv University, Mladenov said that close to 60 percent of the Jewish population and 70% of Palestinians continue to support peace negotiations.

“The will to advance toward peace clearly exists. What remains glaringly absent is the political will and bold leadership to make genuine progress a reality,” he said.

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