UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called on Israel Tuesday to cease settlement activity immediately and work with Palestine towards a two-state solution that would ensure respect for human rights in both states, dpa reported.
"I am dismayed by the dramatic increase in Israeli settlement activity," Ban said. "Settlement activity is a major obstacle to the two-State solution and must cease immediately."
Ban also called on Israel to transfer withheld tax and customs revenues to Palestine to keep the country financially viable. He spoke at the opening of a meeting by a committee that examines the rights of the Palestinian people.
While Ban's comments were mostly addressed to Israel, he warned Palestine to thwart attacks on Gaza and stop weapon smuggling into the area calling Israel's security concerns "legitimate."
The secretary general congratulated Egypt for its efforts to work as a facilitator in the discussions.
The UN resolution granting Palestine the status of a non-member observer state last November, a movement Ban said has "resonated deeply" within the organization, has led to a renewed urgency to solve the conflict that began in 1967.
"The status quo is unsustainable and unacceptable," Ban said. "Both parties must live up to their commitment to a negotiated two-state solution ... and resolve all the core issues, namely, territory, security, Jerusalem, refugees settlement and water."