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Israel approves 1000 new settlements

The Israeli Government has approved up to 1000 new settlements three days before peace talks with the Palestinians resume in Jerusalem.

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UN chief 'encouraged' by Middle East talks progress

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he is "encouraged" that the basis to resume peace talks between Israel and Palestine has been established.

Ban also commended the efforts of US Secretary of State John Kerry and the decision by Israeli and Palestinian officials "to return to the negotiating table".

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has welcomed the Middle East talks progress. Credit: Dennis Van Tine/ABACA USA/Empics Entertainment

His office said in a statement, "He is encouraged by this positive development and calls on both sides to show leadership, courage, and responsibility to sustain this effort towards achieving the two-state vision".

The UN added that it will "support any endeavour towards meaningful negotiations and to the achievement of a comprehensive peace in the region".

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