Jerusalem Feb. 1 – United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in Israel Wednesday to try to restart peace talks, said he is “well aware of the many security challenges Israel sees around it.”
In a day packed with meetings with Israel’s top leaders, Ban discussed the Syria crisis, the stalled peace talks with the Palestinians, the Arab Spring and emphasized that Iran’s nuclear program is a serious issue facing the U.N.
"I have been urging the Iranian authorities to prove that their nuclear program is genuinely for peaceful purposes. I think they have not yet convinced the international community," he said at a news conference following a meeting with Israeli President Shimon Peres.
“I don’t know any responsible leader in the world today that has not declared that they are against Iran having a nuclear bomb. It is a great danger to everybody,” said Peres, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate. “If the dangers of Iran will disappear, it will facilitate very much the peace process all over the places.
“The peace negotiations are encountering natural differences. It’s not the end of it. It may take time. We shall have to struggle,” Peres said.
Ban then met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and afterwards said that "The success of the Amman talks is in the interest of both the Israelis and the Palestinians."
Ban is scheduled to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, but will not be visiting neighboring Syria where the ongoing citizen revolt against the dictatorship of Bashar Assad has led to the murder of thousands.
The U.N. Security Council discussed the Syrian crisis Tuesday, but failed to reach any decision to take action. The unrest in Syria is being watched nervously from Israel over fears that should Syria descend into total civil war, its known stocks of chemical and biological weapons might fall into the hands of Hezbollah terrorists in Lebanon.
The U.N. chief appeared to be frustrated with the Security Council’s inability to take action on Syria, saying the council members were trying to agree on a draft resolution.
“First and foremost we have to take necessary action so that we will not lose any more human lives. All violence must stop,” he said, adding he was encouraged that the League of Arab States had called on the Security Council to meet. “I hope they will continue to discuss with a sense of urgency and seriousness.”