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Fresh push for Middle East peace

JERUSALEM, May 24 (UPI) — Leadership on all sides is needed to find an enduring solution to the crisis between Israelis and Palestinians, the British foreign secretary said Friday.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague met Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah. The British government said he was there in support of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s efforts to breathe life into the Middle East peace process.

“I have said many times in recent months that there is no more urgent global priority than the search for peace in the Middle East,” Hague said in a statement.

A few months after Palestinian leaders gained more recognition from the U.N. General Assembly, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said 2013 would be “a decisive year” for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian crisis.

Hague said the British government was pressing for a viable Palestinian state with Jerusalem as a shared capital. He expressed “grave concern” over Israeli settlement of Palestinian territory, which he said was a violation of international law.

Kerry said Thursday during talks with Israeli President Shimon Peres he was convinced the time was right to press for peace even though “it’s not on the tip of everybody’s tongue.”

Peres said he’d stand by Kerry’s efforts “all the way.”

“You have a mission of peace which concerns all of us, Israelis, Palestinians, old and young, mothers and children,” he said. “We shall work with you.”

Copyright 2013 United Press International, Inc. (UPI).

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