Middle East Annan condemns attack in Hadera urges steps towards peace talks

“[The Secretary-General] condemns in the strongest possible terms yesterday’s murderous attack in the Israeli city of Hadera, in which six Israeli citizens were killed, as he has condemned all indiscriminate killings of civilians,” a spokesman for Mr. Annan said in a statement. “The Secretary-General calls on the Palestinian Authority to take immediate and effective action against those responsible.” The statement also emphasized that peace “cannot be achieved through force and that the only way out of the downward spiral of violence, retaliation and counter-violence is through a balanced series of steps that lead back to the negotiating table and restore hope of a peaceful settlement.”To reach that goal, the Secretary-General called on both parties to comply fully with the demands made by the “Quartet” – the UN, the European Union, the United States, and the Russian Federation – in their joint statement of 25 October. The aim of that communiqué was “to achieve a durable ceasefire and a meaningful dialogue leading to implementation of the Mitchell recommendations and just and lasting peace based on UN Security Council resolutions 242 and 338,” the statement noted.The “Mitchell recommendations” were put forward in the report of a committee of fact-finding chaired by former US Senator George Mitchell. Released last May, the report called for an end to the violence, the implementation of confidence building measures, and the resumption of negotiations.