Readout of the UN Secretary-General’s meeting with Israeli defense minister Ehud Barak

From UNISPAL, 24 Feb 2010United Nations flag

The Secretary-General spoke this morning with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, and they discussed the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, as well as the situation in the region.

They discussed ongoing efforts to restart Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. In this context, the Secretary-General regretted certain recent developments on the ground, including new demolition orders in East Jerusalem and the inclusion of holy sites in the Occupied West Bank on an Israeli heritage list.

The Secretary-General also expressed his concern with the situation in Gaza and his disappointment that Israel has not accepted the UN’s proposal to kickstart civilian recovery. He underscored the need for Israel to take positive steps on the entry of reconstruction materials into Gaza.

On Lebanon, the Secretary-General raised the ongoing discussions on the village of Ghajar and hoped there would be speedy progress on the UNIFIL proposal for an Israeli withdrawal as called for in Security Council Resolution 1701. He also urged an end to Israeli overflights and expressed his continuing concern at the lack of progress over the disarmament of armed groups in Lebanon. He further expressed his concern at the recent rhetoric in the region and its potential to escalate tensions.

New York, 24 February 2010