The United Nations will explore options with Israel's new government for a return to negotiations on creating a Palestinian state within a reasonable timeframe, the body’s new envoy said Tuesday, according to AFP.
Nickolay Mladenov, the UN special Middle East coordinator, told the Security Council that "the coming period will be critical to the future of the peace process."
Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) have been comatose since a major American push for a final deal ended in failure in April 2014.
UN efforts to revive the peace process were effectively on hold in recent months as Israel held elections and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu formed a new government that was announced last week.
Mladenov said he and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon "will be engaging the new government to explore realistic options for a return to meaningful negotiations towards a two-state solution within a reasonable timeframe."
The envoy, who took up his post last month, renewed a UN call for a freeze on Israeli construction in Judea and Samaria and urged the new government to reverse decisions on three recent tenders for new construction.
"To give hope back to people, we must act to advance the prospect of a two-state solution: Israel and Palestine living side-by-side in peace and security," Mladenov told the 15-member council.
Ban said recently that after a new Israeli government has been sworn in, he will investigate whether there are "realistic options" for a return to peace talks between Israel and the PA.
The UN push to put peace talks back on track comes amid discussions at the Security Council on a possible draft resolution that would outline the parameters of a final deal.
New Zealand recently indicated it is working on the new resolution to revive the long-stalled peace talks. The move from New Zealand, which was elected as one of the 10 non-permanent members of the UN Security Council, reflected growing impatience within the council over the failure to agree on a UN approach for the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
The Security Council in December rejected a resolution that would have set a deadline for reaching a final peace deal and pave the way to the creation of a Palestinian state.