Annan welcomes Israeli and Palestinian statements on stopping violence

Annan welcomes Israeli and Palestinian statements on stopping violence

Welcoming Israeli and Palestinian statements today that they were holding their fire against one another, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said he believed that "their joint announcements to cease violence after four years of death and suffering provide an opportunity for the peace process to resume."

The United Nations, the United States, the European Union and the Russian Federation form the Quartet sponsoring the "Road Map" peace process which sets out parallel and reciprocal steps by Israelis and Palestinians, leading to two States living in peace by the end of this year.

"The Secretary-General commends the steps taken by the Israeli and Palestinian leaders and looks forward to further cooperation as part of the implementation of their obligations under the Road Map," said his spokesman, Fred Eckhard.

Mr. Annan also complimented Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak for arranging the summit in the Red Sea town of Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, at which the statements were made.

The active participation of Mr. Mubarak and King Abdullah of Jordan would greatly enhance the chances of achieving a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the critical months ahead, Mr. Eckhard said.