Annan welcomes ceasefire announcement by Palestinian groups

Mr. Annan “hopes that the groups, the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority will do everything necessary to ensure that the ceasefire represents a full and complete end to violence and terror and is a turning point in breaking the cycle of violence between Palestinians and Israelis,” a UN spokesman said in a statement issued in Geneva, where the Secretary-General is attending a meeting of the UN Economic and Social Council. “Along with the agreement on Israeli withdrawal from Gaza Strip and Bethlehem, today’s ceasefire announcement offers a glimpse of hope,” the statement added. “The task now is to press ahead with the difficult process of implementing the Road Map, so as to make a reality of the vision of two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security.” Sponsored by the so-called Diplomatic Quartet of the UN, United States, European Union and Russia, the Road Map peace plans calls for Israel and the Palestinians to take a series of parallel and reciprocal steps culminating in the achievement of the two-state vision by 2005. Mr. Annan commended the Government of Egypt for its sustained efforts to help bring about the latest cease-fire. read more