Global Policy Forum

Middle East: Annan Deplores Rising Violence, Urges Parties to Halt

January 27, 2003

Deploring the 'ominous escalation' of violencein the Gaza Strip over the past few days, United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan urged the parties to halt their attacks and stressed the need for a comprehensive approach to securing peace in the Middle East, said the United Nations Information Center in a pressrelease here on Monday.

In a statement released by his spokesman at UN Headquarters in NewYork, Annan said he was 'concerned by Israeli military operations in the Gaza Strip that place Palestinian civilians in harm's way'.

He voiced deep regret at the loss of life and injury resulting from Saturday night's deadly Israeli incursion into Gaza City.

Approximately a dozen people were killed and scores wounded in that incident.

The statement also expressed the secretary general's concern aboutFriday's rocket attacks against Israel launched from the Gaza Strip, and a similar attack earlier today. He called these actions 'counterproductive to peace efforts such as the Palestinian ceasefire talks under way in Cairo'.

The secretary general called on both sides to act with restraint, in keeping with their obligations under international humanitarian law, and urged them to take steps to 'break the cycle of violence thathas claimed so many Israeli and Palestinian lives in recent years'.

Annan 'remains convinced that the only way forward is a process that addresses political, security and economic issues in parallel, asset forth in the Quartet's roadmap', the spokesman said, referring to the outline for achieving peace put forward by the diplomatic groupingcomprising the UN, United States, Russian Federation and European Union.



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