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UN ENCOURAGED BY PALESTINIAN MOVE TO END VIOLENCE

UN ENCOURAGED BY NEW PALESTINIAN MOVE TO END GAZA VIOLENCE

The latest developments in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with the deployment of Palestinian security forces in northern Gaza are "very encouraging," a United Nations spokesman said today, after days of concern that a fresh upsurge of violence could abort renewed hopes for progress.

"We encourage both (sides) to continue on that path," Stephane Dujarric said in response to a question at the daily briefing in New York of the Palestinian move to end militant attacks from Gaza against Israelis.

Earlier this week, Secretary-General Kofi Annan had expressed alarm over an attack by militants that killed six Israelis at the Gaza border less than a week after the election of new Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had kindled hopes for a fresh start.

Just hours before that attack the UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Kieran Prendergast, told the Security Council there was "a palpable sense of expectation of real, substantial and sustainable change in the region" after the election of Mr. Abbas, who has called for an end to attacks on Israel.

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