Israeli-Palestinian conflict not less important than Syria crisis: UN envoy

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Robert Serry addressing the Security Council on Mid-East situation

Robert Serry addressing the Security Council on the situation in the Middle East

A senior United Nations diplomat has warned the international community about the danger of focusing on the Syrian crisis at the expense of finding a resolution to Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Robert Serry, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Process briefed the Security Council on Tuesday on the situation in the region.

He said the Middle East continues to undergo a period of "grave turmoil with tragic human consequences and an uncertain outcome."

Mr. Serry said regional tensions have mounted as the bloodshed continued in Syria, while the fighting also crossed borders and UN peacekeepers in the Golan area of separation found themselves in harm's way.

"Ending the conflict in Syria is a matter of great urgency and must be the top priority of the international community. At the same time, it would be mistaken, and dangerous, to assume that a resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is less important. Now is not the time to relent in our commitment to advancing the prospects for the resumption of meaningful talks towards the realization of a two-state solution. This is the time for concerted action in support of a substantive initiative lest we miss the slight opening that has been offered in recent months." (31")

Robert Serry said there are serious and determined quiet diplomatic efforts to break the political deadlock and bring Israelis and Palestinians back to the negotiating table.

He added that the renewed effort by the United States and sustained personal engagement of the US Secretary of State John Kerry in these efforts is cause for encouragement.

Donn Bobb, United Nations.

Duration: 1'26"

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