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Alarmed by Middle East fighting, Security Council calls for halt to cycle of violence

Alarmed by Middle East fighting, Security Council calls for halt to cycle of violence

Increasingly concerned at the unprecedented levels of violence and the steadily worsening situation in the Middle East, United Nations Security Council members have called for an immediate halt to the “destructive and dangerous cycle of violence.”

In a press statement issued late Wednesday evening they deplored the loss of life and suffering of the civilian populations on all sides and stressed that there could be no military solution since violence would only create more violence.

“The only way forward was in the return to dialogue and negotiation,” said the statement released by Ambassador Jagdish Koonjul of Mauritius, which holds the Council’s rotating presidency for the month of January. Earlier, the Council received a closed-door briefing by Terje Roed-Larsen, Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Personal Representative and Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process. It was the first such update after the Council decided earlier this month on the need for regular meetings on Middle East developments.

The Council called on both parties to resume negotiations and to work for “a just, lasting and comprehensive settlement” in the Middle East based on resolutions 242 and 338 and the Madrid Principles. In endorsing their earlier statements on the Middle East, Council members recalled that Israel and the Palestinian Authority had accepted the Security Plan presented by the Director of the US Central Intelligence Agency, George Tenet, and the report submitted by a committee chaired by former US Senator George Mitchell.

The statement also expressed strong support for the efforts of Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Mr. Roed-Larsen to help the parties move forward. It welcomed and encouraged sustained engagement by the UN, the European Union, the United States, the Russian Federation, Norway, China and other countries involved in the peace process.