SECRETARY-GENERAL DISTURBED BY ISRAEL’S "INTENSIFIED"
NEW YORK, 24 October (UN Headquarters) -- The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for Secretary-General Kofi Annan:
The Secretary-General is very disturbed to learn that, in spite of international calls on Israel to withdraw its armed forces from Palestinian controlled areas in the West Bank, Israel has instead intensified its occupation of those areas.
The Secretary-General is especially concerned about reports from the village of Beit Rima, where Israeli forces have launched a major assault today resulting in substantial loss of life. The Secretary-General calls on Israel to cease this attack immediately, withdraw all its forces from Area A and also ensure that Palestinian ambulances and International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) personnel have full access to the wounded in the village.
The Secretary-General reiterates that this further dangerous escalation, quite apart from being a breach of signed agreements, only deepens the cycle of violence in the region where tensions are already at boiling point.
The Secretary-General remains convinced that there is no alternative to a negotiated political solution to this conflict. He strongly urges the parties to return to this path.
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