Annan condemns bus attack in Israel, urges sides to get back to talks

Annan condemns bus attack in Israel, urges sides to get back to talks

Issuing a strong condemnation of today’s deadly suicide attack on a bus in northern Israel, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan expressed hope that it would not prevent the sides from pursuing efforts to end violence and reach a political solution.

“The Secretary-General hopes that this terrorist act, which he condemns in the strongest terms, will not deter the parties from the path of seeking an agreement to end violence and from devoting every effort to the attainment of a political solution,” a spokesman for Mr. Annan said in a statement released today in New York. The bomb killed seven passengers on the bus.

At the same time, the spokesman said the Secretary-General was encouraged by the ongoing high-level efforts, facilitated by United States envoy Gen. Anthony Zinni and other members of the so-called Quartet – the United Nations, European Union, Russian Federation – to secure a durable and lasting ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinians.

Mr. Annan urged all sides to persevere with these discussions and to “seize this unique moment” to return to the negotiating table through implementation of the Tenet and Mitchell plans, the spokesman said.

The Tenet understandings refer to the Security Plan presented by the Director of the US Central Intelligence Agency, George Tenet, and the Mitchell recommendations relate to a report submitted by a committee chaired by former US Senator George Mitchell.