May 25, 2010 - 12:00am

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged Israel here on Tuesday to exercise particular restraint in East Jerusalem and halt demolishment and settlement expansion.

The UN chief made the appeal in his message at the opening session of the United Nations International Meeting in Support for the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process.

The secretary-general said in his message: "The parties must avoid provocations or breaches of the Roadmap or international law, which will only create new crisis of confidence."

"We must work with parties to ensure that further steps are taken to build mutual trust and more positive conditions on the ground," he added.

He noted that Jerusalem remains a permanent status issue, vital to both parties, and a way should be found for the city to emerge from negotiations as the capital of both Israel and Palestine, with arrangement for the holy sites acceptable to all.

Meanwhile, Ban urged the Palestinian authority to continue its positive efforts in fulfilling Roadmap commitments to build institutions and promote security, in the context of its widely supported state building program.

Addressing representatives from about 50 countries, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu reaffirmed Turkey's stance in supporting the two-state solution.

In the coming days and months, he said, "we will either move forward towards a vision of two states living side by side in peace and security, or backwards with renewed conflict, deeper despair and long-term insecurity and suffering, for both Israelis and Palestinians alike."

"At this critical juncture, despite all the difficulties and challenges ahead, we should keep working together to achieve meaningful progress in the peace process and on the ground," he added.

Zahir Tanin, Head of the Delegation Committee on the Exercise of Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, said at the meeting: "Our committee is convinced that only serious and sustained international engagement will bring about a peaceful and negotiated settlement of all outstanding issues and reverse the growing support for radical forces that promote violent and unilateral approaches to end the conflict.


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