UNITED NATIONS, Aug. 8 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and "underscored the need to find a political solution to the conflict" in Syria, UN spokesman Martin Nesirky told reporters here.
The secretary-general made the remarks when having a working dinner with the visiting Russian foreign minister "to discuss the conflict in Syria, including the escalating humanitarian crisis and the disconcerting rise in sectarian violence," Nesirky said in a readout to the press here.
"The secretary-general underscored the need to find a political solution to the conflict and to urgently renew momentum behind the Geneva Conference on Syria," the spokesman said.
Lavrov made a stopover in New York on Thursday before his Friday talks with his U.S. counterpart John Kerry on the Syrian issue, among others, in Washington.
In May, following talks in Moscow between Lavrov and Kerry, the two countries announced they would work together to achieve a political solution to the Syrian crisis, and agreed to convene an international conference aimed at achieving this goal.
The date for the conference has not yet been set. The two sides are also continuing talks to decide the participants and topics of the meeting.
Also at the dinner with Lavrov, the secretary-general said that "he was encouraged by the resumption of direct negotiations in the Middle East Peace Process and that the United Nations would do its utmost to support it," according to the spokesman.
The United Nations and Russia are part of the Middle East Quartet, which also groups the European Union and the United States, in search of the Middle East peace on the basis of the two-state solution -- a secure Israel to live in peace with an independent State of Palestine.
Israeli and Palestinian negotiators resumed their direct peace talks in Washington late last month. They will have their second round of peace talks in Jerusalem on Aug. 14 and then a third in Jericho of the West Bank.
Peace talks between the two parties have gone off and on during the past two decades.
The last direct talks between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas lasted only three weeks before they fell apart in September 2010 over squabbles on settlement building in the West Bank.
The Palestinians have conditioned resuming talks on Washington's guarantee of future negotiations based on the borders prior to the 1967 war and Israel's halt of settlement activities, while Israel has rejected talks with preconditions.
Israel captured the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem in the war, territories the Palestinians want as their future state.
Israeli-Palestinian final status negotiations cover Jerusalem, the Jewish settlements, borders and refugees, the so-called core issues between the two sides.
Meanwhile, the spokesman said that the secretary-general and the foreign minister also discussed the situation in Lebanon and Afghanistan, as well as the situation in the Middle East and North Africa.