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Israel-Palestine should talk directly

WEST BANK: Visiting UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Sunday urged Israel and the Palestinians to launch peace talks, saying the indirect talks between the two sides should lead to direct talks. "The Quartet has strongly welcomed and supported these proximity talks," said Ban at the joint news conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

"We believe that these proximity talks should eventually lead to direct negotiations between the two concerned parties, discussing on all the matters, covering security, borders and refugees, and all other issues," added Ban.

Ban's second visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories came days after he joined a meeting of the Middle East Quartet in Moscow on stalled peace talks between the two Middle East foes.

The Middle East Quartet, which groups Russia, the United States, the European Union and the United Nations, issued a statement on Friday, calling on Israel and the Palestinians to resume peace talks and repeat condemnation of Israeli plans to build new settler units in annexed East Jerusalem.

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