JERUSALEM, Aug. 16 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urged on Friday Israelis and Palestinians not to do anything that may thwart the chances of achieving peace.
Ban made the remarks after meeting with Israeli President Shimon Peres, saying that he came to convince leaders of both sides to commit to the negotiations.
For his part, Peres declared that all parties should make peace the top priority.
"I'm here to urge all the leaders to continue along the path to peace and to underscore a shared commitment to walk together to make 2013 a decisive year for Israel-Palestinian peace," Ban told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu later the day.
During Ban's sixth visit to the region after he took office in 2007, the UN chief said the resumption of the negotiations is a courageous and wise act, adding that these negotiations "need to be meaningful."
Israeli and Palestinian negotiators will hold their third round of talks next week in the West Bank city of Jericho.
The two sides wrapped up the second round of the U.S-brokered talks on Wednesday in Jerusalem amid speculations that a final settlement to the decades-old conflict would not be reached.
On August 13, Israel freed 26 Palestinian prisoners to pave the way for peace talks.
Israel-Palestinian peace talks, stalled three years ago in a row over settlement building, resumed in Washington on July 30.
Palestinian, Israeli negotiators to meet in Jericho next week
RAMALLAH, Aug. 15 (Xinhua) -- Palestinian and Israeli negotiators will hold their third round of talks next week in the West Bank city of Jericho, a Palestinian official said Thursday.
The decision to meet at a Jericho hotel was made during the second round of negotiations held in Jerusalem Wednesday, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Full story
News Analysis: Agreement remains far away as Palestinians, Israel hold peace talks in Jerusalem
JERUSALEM, Aug. 14 (Xinhua) -- Israeli and Palestinians negotiators met in Jerusalem on Wednesday for a second round of peace talks. Despite positivity expressed by both sides, the chance of a major breakthrough remains slim.
Among other things, the Israeli government's right-wing inclination and the Palestinians' reluctance to compromise constitute two major obstacles in the peace process, Israeli analysts say. Full story
Israel to return bodies of Palestinian terrorists as goodwill gesture: report
JERUSALEM, Aug. 14 (Xinhua) -- Israel will return the bodies of Palestinian terrorists buried in Israel to the Palestinian Authority (PNA) as a goodwill gesture amid the renewed peace talks, the Ynet news website reported on Wednesday.
The move comes less than 24 hours after the Israeli Prison Service released 26 Palestinian prisoners back to Gaza and the West Bank. Full story