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UN chief concerned over Israel's plans for new settlements in East Jerusalem

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has voiced deep concern over the continuing planning for new Israeli settlements in occupied East Jerusalem, stressing that the recent developments in that regard are unacceptable, particularly as efforts are ongoing to resume talks under the Middle East Peace Process.

Planning for new settlements run contrary to the call by the Quartet the diplomatic group comprising the European Union, Russia, the United Nations and the United States on all parties to refrain from provocative actions, Mr. Ban said in statement issued by his spokesperson late yesterday.

The Secretary-General reiterated that settlement activity in East Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank is contrary to international law and to Israel's obligations under the Roadmap to a peaceful settlement of the conflict, and must cease.

He also stressed that the international community will not recognize unilateral actions on the ground and that the status of Jerusalem can only be resolved through negotiations.

Israeli-Palestinian peace talks have been stalled since late September last year after Israel's refusal to extend a 10-month freeze on settlement activity. The talks had only resumed a few weeks earlier after a two-year hiatus.

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