UN envoy discusses Fatah-Hamas reconciliation deal with Palestinian President
The deal, which will reportedly lead to the formation of a unity government in the coming weeks, was among the developments discussed during a meeting between Robert Serry, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah.
During their meeting, Mr. Serry was assured that this agreement “will be implemented under the leadership of the President and on the basis of the PLO commitments,” according to a statement released by the Special Coordinator.
“President Abbas emphasized that these commitments include recognition of Israel, non-violence, and adherence to previous agreements. President Abbas also reiterated his continued commitment to peace negotiations and to non-violent popular protests.”
Mr. Serry confirmed the UN’s continued support for unity on this basis as the only way to reunite the West Bank, which has been controlled by Fatah, and Gaza, which has been under the rule of Hamas since 2007, under one legitimate Palestinian Authority.
“The Special Coordinator also underlined the importance for the parties, at this critical juncture, to refrain from measures that run counter to creating an environment for continued meaningful negotiations,” the statement added.
The Israelis and Palestinians resumed negotiations last August following efforts by United States Secretary of State John Kerry. Direct negotiations between the two sides had stalled in September 2010, after Israel refused to extend its freeze on settlement activity in the occupied Palestinian territory.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today that the round of peace negotiations being led by the US offers an opening to advance the two-State solution to the conflict.
“Most importantly, the Israeli and Palestinian leadership committed themselves to nine months of focused talks on all core permanent status issues,” he stated in a message delivered to a round table held in Geneva on the question of Palestine. “However, given the complexity of the issues, nine months have proved to be insufficient to complete the task.”
He urged the parties to continue the talks on a substantive basis beyond 29 April, warning: “The costs of walking away from the negotiating table would be exponentially higher than the pain of the compromises required to resolve the conflict.”