Ban Ki-moon names settlement freeze a top UN goal for 2011
In end of year press conference in New York, UN chief says he will work to improve the quality of life in Gaza.
The United Nations named improving the living conditions in the Gaza Strip and ending Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem as part of its goals for 2011, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said on Friday.
Speaking at a press conference concluding the year 2010 at UN headquarters in New York, Ban stated that one of the goals for the upcoming year were to keep working to improve the quality of life in Gaza.
Ban also stressed that Israel must fulfill its obligations and halt any settlement construction, including construction in East Jerusalem.
Ban said that 2010 was a great year for the UN in which it made considerable achievements in areas such as biodiversity and involvement in the democratic elections in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Earlier this month, Ban chastised the Israeli government for refusing to extend its ten-month moratorium on West Bank settlement construction that expired in September, calling it a snub to the international community.
A spokesperson for the UN chief urged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government to renew its freeze on settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, framing it as an obligation that Israel is avoiding.
Negotiations between Israel and the U.S. government regarding Israel's renewal of a moratorium on West Bank settlement construction in exchange for an American letter of guarantees were declared a failure at the start of December.