UN chief to host meeting on Israeli-Palestinian conflict

AP News
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Posted: Sep 04, 2015 3:47 PM

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will host a ministerial meeting of key global players trying to end the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict on Sept. 30 during the annual high-level session of the General Assembly, the United Nations announced Friday.

Spokesman Stephane Dujarric said that in addition to foreign ministers from the Quartet of Mideast mediators — the United States, United Nations, European Union and Russia — the secretary-general is inviting the Arab League secretary-general and the foreign ministers of Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia to join the meeting.

Negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians have been stalled since the United States failed to broker a peace agreement in early 2014. The Quartet was sidelined by the U.S.-led efforts, but their failure opened the possibility of a broader international effort to tackle the conflict.

Israel's hard-line leader, Benjamin Netanyahu, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, however, have been unable to agree on ground rules for negotiations.

Abbas, backed by most of the international community, says the pre-1967 frontier, before Israel captured the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem, should serve as the starting point for talks on the borders of a future Palestinian state. Netanyahu rejects that.

Abbas is scheduled to address the General Assembly on Sept. 30, the same day Ban will host the ministerial meeting.

Palestinian U.N. Ambassador Riyad Mansour said Thursday he hopes Abbas will be able to raise the Palestinian flag outside U.N. headquarters for the first time that day. He said this could "keep hope alive" among Palestinians at a time when "the political process is dead."

The 193-member General Assembly is scheduled to vote Sept. 10 on a resolution, opposed by Israel, that would allow non-member observer states — Palestine and the Holy See — to raise their flags. Mansour said he expects "an overwhelming majority" of states to support it.

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Associated Press Writer Karin Laub contributed to this report from Amman, Jordan