UN’s Ban to visit Israel amid continued peace push

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will head to France on Friday ahead of a Middle East tour that will take him to Kuwait, Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Jordan, AFP reports.

In Paris on Saturday Ban will meet with President Francois Hollande and Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, as France seeks to organize an international conference later this year to revive the moribund Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

The following day in Kuwait he will meet with the UN's envoy on the Yemen conflict, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, and with Yemeni parties involved in peace negotiations, said UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric.

He will also hold talks with the country's emir, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, and government members.

On Monday the UN chief heads to Jerusalem to meet with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin, and to Tel Aviv for a meeting with students.

Tuesday will take him to Gaza for a visit to a UN-run girls primary school, then on to Rawabi and Ramallah in the PA-assigned areas of Judea and Samaria for talks with PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas and prime minister Rami Hamdallah.

The visit comes amid a continued international push for Israel and the PA to renew peace talks that have been frozen for several years.

France is at the forefront of these efforts, having on June 3 hosted a summit in Paris in which foreign ministers discussed ways in which the international community could "help advance the prospects for peace, including by providing meaningful incentives to the parties to make peace."

On Monday, the European Union’s Foreign Affairs Council’s voted to adopt the French peace initiative and act to convene an international peace conference in accordance.

Israel rejects the initiative and insists that the only way to achieve peace is by direct negotiations with the PA.

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/213947

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