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U.N. Secretary-General Calls Saudi Proposal 'Pillar' in the Peace Process: Ban Ki-moon Interviewed by Voice of America in Advance of Mideast Trip

U.N. Secretary General Ban also talks about his first trip to the region, peacekeeping in Darfur, and the North Korean nuclear issue

Washington, D.C., March 18, 2007: U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon hailed the 2002 Middle East peace initiative by Saudi Arabia during an on camera interview with the Voice of America (VOA).

"I think the Arab peace initiative of 2002 by Saudi Arabia is one of the pillars, which will facilitate the peace process in the Middle East," said Ban Ki-moon in an interview with Voice of America Television. "We must build upon these good principles."

VOA's Pete Heinlein spoke to Secretary-General Ban in advance of his upcoming trip to the Middle East. Ban also observed that the response from the Palestinian coalition to the proposals of the Middle East Quartet (which includes Saudi Arabia, the United States, Russia and the European Union) was "disappointing" observing that, "Initial reports coming from this national unity government seem to be a little bit disappointing. They have not clearly stated they will abide by these three principles."

The interview, on a range of topics including Ban's first trip to the region, peacekeeping in Darfur and the North Korean nuclear issue, will be broadcast beginning this evening by numerous VOA language services both on radio and television as well as featured on VOA's website at

The Voice of America, which first went on the air in 1942, is a multimedia international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. government through the Broadcasting Board of Governors. VOA broadcasts more than 1,000 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an estimated worldwide audience of more than 115 million people. Programs are produced in 45 languages.

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