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UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres visit to Israel & Palestinian territories

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UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres will pay his visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories, including the Gaza Strip, at the end of this month. It will be his first vosit to the region as the UN chief.

Guterres will hold talks with Israeli leaders, travel to Ramallah to meet Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas and to the Gaza Strip, where the United Nations runs a major Palestinian aid program, during the three-day visit beginning August 28. Israel’s UN Ambassador Danny Danon said yesterday the visit will allow Guterres to build a relationship with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

He will also hold meetings with the Israeli President and Defence Minister. The visit comes as diplomatic efforts to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks appear deadlocked.

Relations between the United Nations and Israel have been tense over the expansion of Jewish settlements, which the world body has condemned as illegal. During the recent flareup of violence in Jerusalem, Guterres called for de-escalation and respect for the status quo at holy sites after Israel installed metal detectors at the Haram al-Sharif mosque compound, known to Jews as the Temple Mount.

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