28 September - The resumption of direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian leaders received backing from more States at the General Assembly with a number of speakers this week describing the engagement as the best hope for realizing peace in the Middle East in the near future.

Ireland called for the sustained commitment of the international community, stressing at the General Assembly that the talks presented a historic opportunity for a lasting solution to the long-standing conflict.

“I am in no doubt that progress towards a comprehensive settlement based on the two-State solution would contribute more to improving global security than any other single peace-building effort,” Ireland's Foreign Minister, Micheál Martin, told the high-level debate of the General Assembly yesterday.

He urged both parties to refrain from any actions which could endanger the negotiation process.

“Our own experience in the Northern Ireland peace process has shown that political progress can only be achieved through dialogue. Maximum restraint for the duration of these talks, which are intended to be – and should be – completed within 12 months, would be a small price for lasting peace,” Mr. Martin said.

His Bulgarian counterpart, Nickolay Mladenov, stressed that the people of the Middle East must not allow the current opportunity evade them, and urged the world to lend full support to Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas as they lead their respective sides.

“If the leaders of Palestine believe that settlement policy is an obstacle to peace, the leaders of Israel must refrain from such activities. To give peace a chance,” Mr. Mladenov said today.

“If the leaders of Israel believe that no preconditions to a final settlement should be put in place, the Palestinian leaders must refrain from such actions. To give peace a chance,” he added.

Malta's Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Tonio Borg, said the country will continue to play its part with the United Nations, the European Union and other international and regional forums to create conditions for peace and prosperity in the Mediterranean region and the Middle East.

The United Arab Emirates, for its part, reiterated its backing to the Palestinian Authority's decision to engage in direct peace talks with Israel.

'We hope that these negotiations will lead to achieving positive and concrete results within the stipulated time frame,” UAE's Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahya said.

Oman also voiced its support for the peace talks, noting however that “Israel's policy is vague.”

“We look forward to an active, positive and continuing role by United States President Barack Obama, in order to reach a settlement that is just and comprehensive,” Oman's Foreign Minister Sayyid Badr bin Hamad bin Hamoud Al-Busaidi said.

“We call upon Israel to grasp this historic opportunity to establish partnership in peace and security with Arab countries,” Mr. Al-Busaidi said.

Tunisia voiced concern for what it termed “Israel's disrespect for international legality and for the basic references of the peace process,” citing the Jewish State's “persistence in the policy of settlement.”

“Tunisia expresses its hope that the resumption of direct peace talks, launched on 2 September in Washington under the sponsorship of the United States, will meet the legitimate aspirations of the brotherly Palestinian people,” Tunisia's Foreign Minister Kamel Morjane said.