10 August 2006

Secretary-General Says Tragic Events in Lebanon and Northern Israel Should Not Distract from Urgent Need to Resolve Crisis in Occupied Palestinian Territory

NEW YORK, 9 August (UN Headquarters) -- The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan:

The Secretary-General is greatly concerned that the tragic events in Lebanon and northern Israel should not distract from the urgent need to work towards a solution to the current crisis in the occupied Palestinian territory.  The continued killing and injuring of hundreds of civilians, including children, in Gaza, by Israeli forces is utterly unjustifiable.  Further, the arbitrary arrest of many senior Palestinians -- including Dr. Aziz Dweik, the speaker of the Palestinian Council -- is a cause of particular concern, since it further undermines the Palestinian institutions which must be preserved if a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is to be achieved.

He also reiterates his call for a cessation of the rocket attacks from Gaza, which have indiscriminately targeted Israeli civilians.  He calls on the parties to resume dialogue without delay, and welcomes the continued efforts by the Government of Egypt to help bring this about.

Above all, he believes these tragic events in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Israel and Lebanon show how urgent it is that a comprehensive peace process be revived as soon as possible.

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