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UN chief urges resolution of Palestinian prisoners issue

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UN chief urges resolution of Palestinian prisoners issue
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United Nations: UN chief Ban Ki-moon Ban has urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to resolve the issue of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli custody who are on hunger strike and held without charge.

Expressing deep concern over deteriorating condition of Palestinian prisoners, Ban highlighted the need for an urgent solution of this critical issue, a UN statement said.

Ban expressed his concerns to Netanyahu in a telephone conversation on Monday. He also congratulated Netanyahu on his recent electoral victory.

His spokesman Martin Nesirky told reporters during a briefing that Ban is deeply concerned over the rapidly deteriorating condition of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli custody who are on hunger strike, in particular the critical health condition of one Palestinian detainee, Samer Issawi.

Nesirky said Ban received a letter from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, as well as from the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States on this subject.

"The Secretary-General urges for a solution to be reached without delay in order to resolve the prisoners' plight and preserve calm. He recalls the importance of full adherence by all sides to the 14 May 2012 agreement in this regard, including the implementation of prisoners' family visiting rights.

"International human rights obligations towards all Palestinian detainees and prisoners under Israeli custody must be fully respected," Nesirky said.

Noting that the United Nations is closely following the situation on the ground, the spokesperson said Deputy Special Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator James W Rawley met last week in Ramallah with the Palestinian Minister of Prisoner and Detainee Affairs and with representatives of the families of the detainees today.

The United Nations will remain engaged with relevant authorities on both the Palestinian and Israeli sides and hopes for an early resolution of this important issue, he said.

Ban and Netanyahu also discussed the need for a resumption of Israeli-Palestinian talks as well as more generally the situation in the region, in particular the impact of the Syrian conflict, including Israel's security concerns in this regard.

During the call, Ban stressed that it is urgent for Israelis and Palestinians to reengage in a serious peace effort with effective international support, and to create a conducive environment to that end, a UN statement said.

PTI

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