6 March 2003

Secretary-General Gravely Concerned at Escalating Violence Between Israelis, Palestinians

NEW YORK, 5 March (UN Headquarters) -- The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for Secretary-General Kofi Annan:

The Secretary-General is gravely and increasingly concerned by the steady escalation in violence between Israelis and Palestinians, which has left 176 Palestinians and 30 Israelis dead since 1 January. He utterly condemns its latest manifestation, today's terrorist attack in the Israeli city of Haifa.

The Secretary-General strongly believes that the parties should take urgent steps to draw back from this dangerous and de-humanizing situation. He once again calls on both sides to respect fully their obligations under international humanitarian law to protect the lives of civilians.

The Secretary-General remains convinced that violence will produce neither security nor lasting peace. He reiterates his call on the parties to allow the international community to help them find a peaceful way out of this conflict, based on the two-State solution through the implementation of the Quartet's Road Map.

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