Mideast direct talks `only way` to peace: UN

Israel and the Palestinians have agreed to re-launch talks on Sept 2 in US.

New York: United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Saturday endorsed next month`s planned resumption of direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

A spokesman at UN headquarters in New York said that Ban believes that negotiations "are the only way for the parties to resolve all final status issues".

US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and the European Union on Friday announced that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will re-launch talks on September 02 in Washington with the goal of reaching a comprehensive peace agreement within a year.
Ban called on both sides "to show leadership courage, and responsibility to realise the aspirations of both peoples".

"We should all be aware that this is an opportunity that must not be wasted," the statement said. "This opportunity must be seized so that the hope for a better future for the people of the region to live in peace, security and freedom can be fully realised."