UN: Prospects for direct Israeli-Palestinian talks are slim
Despite recent diplomatic efforts to revive direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, prospects remain "slim," the UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process said Tuesday, DPA reported.
The Jordanian government mediated several meetings in January to try to bring the two sides back to the negotiating table and those exploratory talks will continue, Robert Serry said at an open session of the UN Security Council on the Middle East.
"The reality is that the parties have not yet found sufficient common ground to resume direct negotiations and prospects remain slim," Serry said.
He said the diplomatic group known as the quartet - the United Nations, the European Union, the United States and Russia - will meet in Washington on April 7 to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian conflict under a cloud of uncertainty.
Serry reported a flared up in the fighting in the past month with militants in Gaza Strip firing a total of 211 rockets and 36 mortars into Israel, which retaliated with 42 airstrikes in Gaza, killing four Palestinian civilians and 20 militants.
"We have consistently condemned indiscriminate rocket attacks from Gaza into Israel," he said. "We also urged Israel to show maximum restraint. All sides must respect their obligations to protect civilians, who often pay the price of violence."