UN Envoy: Prospects for Middle East Peace Process Bleak

Posted July 25th, 2012 at 5:00 pm (UTC-5)
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A top United Nations official says talks aimed at restarting the Middle East peace process remain stalled, and that time is running out for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Robert Serry, the U.N. coordinator for Middle East peace, spoke Wednesday at a Security Council debate on the decades-long conflict. He said efforts to restart talks have not yet reached a breaking point. But he also said there has been no progress, and he warned that “events on the ground continue to move in the wrong direction.”

Israelis and Palestinians have not negotiated directly since 2010, when Israel refused to extend its freeze on settlement activity in the occupied West Bank.

Palestinian U.N. envoy Riyad Mansour blamed the stalemate on Israel and what he called its ongoing and illegal settlement campaign. Israeli counterpart Haim Waxman called on the Palestinian leadership to drop preconditions and rejoin the talks.

U.S. envoy Jeffrey DeLaurentis urged both sides to end actions that jeopardize peace initiatives. He also said the United States does not accept the legitimacy of Israel's West Bank settlement activity.