UN chief to visit Mideast to support peace talks

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is heading to the Middle East this week to support Israeli-Palestinian peace talks scheduled to resume Wednesday for the first time in nearly five years.

U.N. deputy spokesman Eduardo del Buey said Tuesday that the first stop for Ban, who is currently in Pakistan, will be Jordan, where officials said he will meet King Abdullah II on Thursday.

The secretary-general then visits Ramallah for talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah before heading to Israel, del Buey said.

In Jerusalem, he said, Ban will meet Israeli President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Martin Indyk, the U.S. mediator in the peace talks.

The U.N. is part of the Quartet of Mideast peace mediators along with the U.S., European Union and Russia.

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