UN chief arrives in Israel, begins first visit since taking office to region

Source: Xinhua| 2017-08-28 04:09:44|Editor: Zhou Xin
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JERUSALEM, Aug. 27 (Xinhua) -- The General-Secretary of the United Nations, António Guterres, landed in Israel on Sunday night for a three-day visit to Israel and the Palestinian National Authority.

The visit, Guterres' first to the region since taking office in January, includes meetings in Jerusalem with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin.

He will also travel to Ramallah city, where he would meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

His itinerary includes also a visit to the besieged Gaza Strip, where the UN runs major aid programs to prevent a spiraling humanitarian crisis.

In accordance with his request, his visit would begin with laying a wreath on the grave of Israel's former president, Shimon Peres, Guterres' friend.

The talks are expected to focus on the long-stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, as well as the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Israeli media reported that Israel plans to raise in the talks also its concerns over Iran's attempts to achieve a foothold in Syria.

Guterres, a former prime minister of Portugal, served as the former UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

Israel has tense relations with the UN, with senior leaders frequently condemning the international body for taking sides with the Palestinians against the Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank.