The United Nations (UN) Secretary-General António Guterres has announced that the UN is unable to convene the Middle East Quartet to discuss the potential Israeli plan to annex large parts of the occupied West Bank, Quds Press reported on Friday.
During a virtual press conference held at the UN Headquarters in New York, Guterres confirmed: “I am working with the Coordinator [of the Middle East Peace Envoy] Nickolay Mladenov to create an appropriate atmosphere to convene the quartet without preconditions.”
He added: “Currently, we are unable to create this atmosphere. However, we believe that dialogue is the only way to go ahead in this matter.”
Meanwhile, he renewed his call on Israel to relinquish its plan to annex the West Bank.
On Wednesday, during a virtual meeting for the UN Security Council, he stated: “We are at a watershed moment.”
Guterres stressed: “If implemented, annexation would constitute a most serious violation of international law, grievously harm the prospect of a two-state solution and undercut the possibilities of a renewal of negotiations. I call on the Israeli government to abandon its annexation plans.”
For his part, Mladenov told the Security Council that all sides must do their part in the coming weeks and months to preserve the prospect of a two-state solution, in line with internationally-agreed parametres, international law and UN resolutions.
“These efforts must begin immediately,” according to Mladenov. “There is no time to lose.”
He added: “The fate of the Palestinian and Israeli people must not be determined by destructive unilateral action that cements divisions and may put peace beyond reach in our lifetime.”