Last Updated: Tue Sep 25, 2012 19:06 pm (KSA) 16:06 pm (GMT)

‘Door closing’ on two-state solution: Ban tells U.N. Assembly

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the General Assembly the continued growth of Israeli settlements undercuts any peace efforts within the conflict. (Reuters)
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the General Assembly the continued growth of Israeli settlements undercuts any peace efforts within the conflict. (Reuters)

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon painted a dismal picture over the possibility of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on Tuesday, saying the “door may be closing [on the solution], for good.”

The U.N. chief told the U.N. General Assembly the continued growth of Israeli settlements undercuts any peace efforts within the conflict.

“The two-state solution is the only sustainable option. Yet the door may be closing, for good,” Ban said.

“The continued growth of Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory seriously undermines efforts towards peace. We must break this dangerous impasse.”

Ban was one of the speakers at the annual meeting of world leaders. His speech also appeared to address the Iranian-Israeli tensions.

In an apparent reference to recent comments by Israeli, Iranian and U.S. officials, the U.N. chief said he rejected threats of military action by one state against another.

While he did not specify what countries he was talking about, after criticizing Israeli settlement building, Ban told the U.N. General Assembly, “I also reject both the language of delegitimization and threats of potential military action by one state against another. Any such attacks would be devastating.”

Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who is in New York, has shrugged off talk of an Israeli attack on his country’s nuclear facilities. But U.S. President Barack Obama was to warn that the United States would “do what we must” to stop Iran getting a nuclear weapon.

Iran has denied western accusations that it seeks a nuclear bomb.

Syria ‘calamity’

Also in his speech, the U.N. chief called the Syrian civil war is a “calamity” that now threatens world peace and demands action by the divided U.N. Security Council.

Ban said the Syria conflict is turning into “a regional calamity with global ramifications” that needs action by the Security Council.

“The international community should not look the other way as violence spirals out of control,” Ban told world leaders, adding that “brutal” rights abuses were being committed by President Bashar al-Assad’s government.

“I call on the international community -- especially the members of the Security Council and countries in the region -- to solidly and concretely support the efforts” of U.N.-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi.

“We must stop the violence and flow of arms to both sides and set in motion a Syrian-led transition as soon as possible,” Ban added.

The 15-nation Security Council has become paralyzed by deadlock over the 18-month-old uprising and crackdown, which Syrian activists say has left more than 29,000 dead.

Russia, Assad’s main ally, and China have vetoed three Security Council resolutions which could have led to sanctions against the Syrian government.

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