UN urges next Israeli government to stop settlements

Other News Materials 19 September 2008 05:43 (UTC +04:00)

The next Israeli government should end the expansion of Jewish settlement in occupied Palestinian territories, a UN official said Thursday.

The statement came a day after Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni won leadership of the Kadima Party and before she begins negotiations to form a new coalition government.

Robert Serry, the UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, said in a meeting of the UN Security Council that decisive progress should be made in settling the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as negotiations are at a crossroad.

"It appears so far that no agreement has been reached on the core issues," Serry said. "However, it also appears that there have been substantive discussions, the potential of which must be built on with a continuation of intensive negotiations."

He called on Livni, who could be the next prime minister of Israel, to end the Jewish settlements in order to help the peace process.

Serry welcomed Israel's release of 198 Palestinian prisoners and the dismantling of several checkpoints. But he said there were still over 600 obstacles to free movement in the West Bank and said measures taken by Israel to assist the Palestinians have been insufficient to allow them to more make progress in security and the economy, dpa reported.