Seeking an end to Israeli settlement activities, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has appealed to the country to resume “meaningful” peace talks with Palestinians.

The UN chief’s remarks came as the US envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell, embarked on what is being described as a fresh bout of shuttle diplomacy in the region to get the two sides talk to each other.

“I support the US-led efforts to bring about a resumption of meaningful negotiations on all final status issues, including the security of Israelis and Palestinians, borders, refugees and Jerusalem,” Mr. Ban said at the Opening of the 2010 Session of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.

“In the absence of talks, confidence between the parties has diminished. Tensions have risen in East Jerusalem. People in Gaza and southern Israel continue to suffer from violence.

If we do not move forward on the political process soon, we risk sliding backward,” he said.

The Secretary General said that settlement action and several other activities carried out by Tel Aviv that violated the rights of the Palestinian people living in East Jerusalem could endanger stability in the region.

”... the international community does not recognise Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem, which remains part of the occupied Palestinian territory,” Mr. Ban said.

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