Noting that US backed indirect talks between Israel and Palestine is a good start, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that the United Nation is committed to help Palestinians to find a solution to the conflict within the next two years.
"We are committed to work together with the Palestinian people and help your cause to complete negotiations on a settlement of all core issues within 24 months," Ban said, following a meeting with Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.
Ban kicked off a two-day visit to the Palestinian territories and Israel aimed at restarting peace talks by meeting Palestinian premier Salam Fayyad in the West Bank political capital of Ramallah yesterday.
"Our goal is to encourage those proximity talks which should be launched very soon, I hope, but this is not the end result, this should end lead eventually to direct negotiation between the two parties," Ban said.
He said that the parties had no option but to engage in direct talks.
"It has been too long and it is high time now that Palestinians and Israelis should be able to live side by side in peace and security," he added. Ban visited to the occupied territories and Gaza was after a meeting with the Quartet in Moscow that issued a joint statement calling for direct talks and condemning the 1600 new housing units approved by the Israeli government in East Jerusalem.
"The Quartet underscores that the status of Jerusalem is a permanent status issue that must be resolved through negotiations between the parties, and condemns the decision by the Government of Israel to advance planning for new housing units in East Jerusalem," Quartet said in a statement. Palestinians want East Jerusalem to be the future capital of West Bank and Gaza strip under the two state solution but many settlers see West Bank as the land given by God to the Jews.
The Quartet which is guiding the Middle East peace process is made up of the United Nations, European Union, Russia.
"The proximity talks are an important step towards the resumption, without preconditions, of direct bilateral negotiations that resolve all final status issues as previously agreed by the parties," the statement said.
"The Quartet believes these negotiations should lead to a settlement, negotiated between the parties within 24 months, that ends the occupation which began in 1967," it added.