Essential to restart a "serious and credible" peace process: UN chief

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UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah give a press conference in Ramallah on 29 August, 2017. UN Photo.

It is "essential" to restart a "serious and credible" peace process between Israel and Palestine based on a two-state solution, the UN chief said on Tuesday.

Secretary-General António Guterres is on a three-day visit to the region and was speaking during a press conference alongside Palestinian Prime Minister, Rami Hamdallah.

Matt Wells reports.

The Secretary-General spoke to reporters in the West Bank city of Ramallah, and said there was "no plan B" for guaranteeing peace between Israel and Palestine, other than two states, living side by side.

He said that the expansion of Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territories – illegal under international law – was an "obstacle" that needed to be removed for meaningful talks to progress.

"It is my deep belief that it is essential to restart a serious and credible political process of negotiation aiming at that objective, a two-state solution. And it is also important to create conditions on the ground to improve the situation of Palestinian populations. Improvements of an economic and social nature, of mobility on the ground are not a replacement for the two-state solution or for a serious political process of negotiation, they are just a necessary complement of these negotiations."

The Palestinian and Israeli people need to feel a peace dividend, said the UN chief, in order to become more invested in the whole process.

He also reiterated the UN's support for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, in creating a unified leadership both in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, which remains under the control of the extremist group, Hamas.

Matt Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 1'17"

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