“Reacting to the recent upsurge in Middle East violence, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today called on both sides to refrain from any measures that could cause a further escalation.

“The Secretary-General is extremely concerned about the continuation and intensification of violence in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory, including indiscriminate rocket attacks against Israel from Gaza, a suicide bombing last week, and major Israeli reprisal operations,” a spokesman for Mr. Annan said in a statement.

He called on the Palestinian Authority “to take a clear public stand against violence and to take firm measures against the perpetrators of rocket attacks and suicide bombings.” The Government of Israel was called on “to ensure that its responses are proportionate and do not endanger the civilian population.”

Mr. Annan asked both sides “to act in conformity with international law, and to refrain from taking any steps which further escalate the violence,” according to the statement, which was released in New York as well as Sevilla, Spain, where the Secretary-General is traveling.” [Link]

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