SECRETARY-GENERAL GRAVELY CONCERNED AT ESCALATION
NEW YORK, 29 March (UN Headquarters) -- The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for Secretary-General Kofi Annan:
The Secretary-General is gravely concerned at the further escalation of violence in Israel and the Palestinian territories. He reiterates his condemnation of terrorism from whatever quarter. At the same time, the Secretary-General remains strongly opposed to the excessive use of force by Israeli security forces.
The Secretary-General once again calls on both sides to exercise maximum restraint. He is particularly distressed by the killing of young children and other civilians, which he condemns in the strongest possible terms.
The Secretary-General notes that both sides have, in the past weeks, expressed their willingness to implement the Sharm el-Sheikh understandings. It is now urgent that they do so. He regrets that continuing violence and increasingly harsh rhetoric on both sides have obscured some limited, positive steps taken by them before the violence of the last few days. He calls for an urgent resumption of political dialogue, since only a political settlement between the two sides can ensure peace and security for both.
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