NEW YORK, 28th June, 2016 (WAM) — Following a meeting with Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin in Jerusalem, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said that nearly 50 years of occupation of Palestinian land has not brought security for Israelis, stressing that only a negotiated two-state solution could bring the legitimate aspirations of both Israelis and Palestinians to fruition.

“I must be equally clear that nearly 50 years of occupation has had a devastating impact on Palestinian lives, undermining the belief in a peaceful resolution to this conflict,” Mr. Ban added. “It also has not brought security for Israelis.”

Urging leaders on both sides to urgently take concrete steps to restore hope and a political horizon, the UN chief stressed that “a negotiated two-state solution remains the only viable option to prevent perpetual conflict and to achieve the legitimate aspirations of both peoples.”

The Secretary-General encouraged Israeli and Palestinian leaders to engage with the Middle East Quartet, made up of the European Union, Russia, the United States and the UN, which continues to work with the parties and the region to bring about the necessary conditions for the resumption of meaningful negotiations and is finalising its first report on the impediments to the two-state solution and the way forward.

WAM/AAMIR/Moran