UN / MIDDLE EAST

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20-Aug-2013 00:02:47
The Assistant Secretary-General for political affairs, Oscar Fernandez-Taranco told the Security Council that “despite an ever challenging regional environment” there has been a small but important opening in the form of direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians. (UNTV

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STORY: UN / MIDDLE EAST
TRT: 2.47
SOURCE: UNTV
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 20 AUGUST 2013, NEW YORK CITY / FILE

SHOTLIST:

FILE – RECENT, NEW YORK CITY

1. Wide shot, exterior United Nations headquarters

20 AUGUST 2013, NEW YORK CITY

2. Wide shot, Security Council
3. Med shot, delegates
4. SOUNDBITE (English) Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs:
“Despite an ever challenging regional environment we are finally observing long-awaited movement on the peace process in the form of direct negotiations. Let me stress our hope that such efforts mark a first opportunity to overcome the recent years of shared frustration at the political deadlock. Last week witnessed a promising opening in the efforts underway to develop a meaningful political initiative on the Israeli - Palestinian issue. We have now reached a decisive point. The test will be for both sides to go the distance and not disappoint their people.”
5. Med shot, delegates
6. SOUNDBITE (English) Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs:
“The Secretary-General continues to believe a two-state solution can be achieved through negotiations that resolve permanent status issues such as borders, security, refugees and Jerusalem. For these negotiations to have a change at success, they need to be meaningful with a clear political horizon and yield early dividends in the immediate period ahead.”
7. Med shot, delegates
8. SOUNDBITE (English) Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs:
“At the same time, the Secretary-General remained deeply troubled by Israel’s continuing settlement activity in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, referencing recent announcements of the approval of some 2,000 housing units. The position of the United Nations on settlements being against international law remains firm.”
9. Med shot, delegates
10. SOUNDBITE (English) Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs:
“Gaza remains a high priority for the United Nations and must not be forgotten in the context of a resumed peace process. Despite early negative reactions, we express the hope that the Hamas de facto authorities will not hamper efforts to achieve the two-state solution, the only opportunity for lasting peace and ending the isolation of Gaza Strip. As a result of political developments in Egypt, access through Rafah has been restricted for security reasons. Combined with the long-standing restrictions on the free movement of people and goods via Israel, such measures have continued to adversely impact the civilian population, including limiting access to healthcare for some of the most vulnerable patients in Gaza, and resulting in shortages in key medical supplies.”
11. Med shot, delegates
12. Wide shot, Security Council

STORYLINE:

The Assistant Secretary-General for political affairs, Oscar Fernandez-Taranco told the Security Council today (20 August) that “despite an ever challenging regional environment” there has been a small but important opening in the form of direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians.

Taranco said that “the test will be for both sides to go the distance and not disappoint their people.”

Israeli and Palestinian negotiators met today for a second round of direct talks in the Middle East, Taranco told the Council, pledging the Organization’s support for the negotiations.

The official said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon “continues to believe a two-state solution can be achieved through negotiations that resolve permanent status issues such as borders, security, refugees and Jerusalem.”

He stressed that for negotiations to have a change at success, “they need to be meaningful with a clear political horizon and yield early dividends in the immediate period ahead.”

At the same time, he said, Ban “remained deeply troubled by Israel’s continuing settlement activity in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, referencing recent announcements of the approval of some 2,000 housing units.”

Ban visited Israel and the Palestinian Authority on 15 and 16 August to show his support for the restart of direct negotiations. He has stressed his full support for direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians, and voiced the hope that this year will be a decisive one for peace in the Middle East.

On Gaza, Taranco expressed hope that the Hamas de facto authorities “will not hamper efforts to achieve the two-state solution, the only opportunity for lasting peace and ending the isolation of Gaza Strip.”

He noted that as a result of political developments in Egypt, access through Rafah has been restricted for security reasons and said that “combined with the long-standing restrictions on the free movement of people and goods via Israel, such measures have continued to adversely impact the civilian population, including limiting access to healthcare for some of the most vulnerable patients in Gaza, and resulting in shortages in key medical supplies.”

As for the ongoing volatile situation in Egypt, he said the latest incident in the Sinai Peninsula yesterday had brought alarming news of an ambush on two minibuses, which killed 25 Egyptian police officers. The Secretary-General condemned the ambush and the United Nations hopes that that the perpetrators will be swiftly identified and brought to justice.
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U130820a