United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned on Wednesday against abandoning the idea of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, saying there was "no alternative".
"There is no alternative solution for the situation between the Palestinians and Israelis, other than the solution of establishing two states, and we should do all that can be done to maintain this," Guterres said during a visit to Cairo.
For decades, the idea of creating a Palestinian state living side-by-side with Israel has underpinned Middle East peace efforts, though the last U.S.-brokered negotiations broke down in 2014.
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But in a potential shift, a senior White House official said on Tuesday that peace did not necessarily have to entail Palestinian statehood, and U.S. President Donald Trump would not try to "dictate" a solution.
Trump was set to host Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu later on Wednesday for talks, as Palestinians warned the White House not to abandon their goal of an independent state.
Guterres this month condemned the Israeli parliament's move to legalise thousands of settler homes in the occupied West Bank, saying it goes against international law and will have legal consequences for Israel.
Under Israeli law, the move retroactively legalises about 4,000 settler homes built on privately owned Palestinian land.
Guterres also defended this week the choice of former Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad as the U.N. envoy to Libya, after the United States raised objections and said the United Nations was biased against Israel.