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Annan Urges Palestinian Factions Stop Showing Arms

Annan Urges Palestinian Factions To Stop Showing Arms, Says Both Sides Must Observe Law

Alarmed at rising Middle East violence, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today urged Palestinian factions to stop displaying their arms and called on both parties to take care not to harm civilians.

In a statement released by his spokesman in New York, the Secretary-General warned that the flare-up "risks stymieing efforts to seize the momentum generated by Israel's withdrawal of settlements from Gaza and the northern West Bank."

Palestinian factions should "heed President Mahmoud Abbas's call on them to cease the public display of weapons, as a step towards abandoning weapons altogether and joining the construction of a democratic Palestinian society," the spokesman said.

"All parties should be careful to avoid proactive actions at this critical time, and must at all times take the greatest care to avoid civilian casualties and observe international humanitarian law."

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