“The Secretary-General remains gravely concerned at the continued violence in the Middle East, including most recently yesterday the shooting of a Palestinian woman in Hebron by Israeli settlers and Friday’s attack near the town of Hebron in which four Israelis were killed,” a spokesman for Mr. Annan said in a statement. The Secretary-General reiterated his condemnation of all attacks against civilians, according to the statement.Urging all concerned to end the cycle of violence and retaliation, Mr. Annan called on the parties “to return to the path of negotiations for a permanent settlement,” the spokesman said.The Secretary-General, asked this afternoon by reporters about UN action on the Palestinian issue, said the world body had been “quite engaged” in addressing the crisis, which was marked by civilian deaths on both sides. “We need to work very hard to end that tragedy,” he added.At the same time, Mr. Annan called attention to the emergence of a common aspiration for settling the issue. “Today we all share a vision of two States living side by side and in security,” he said. “What we need is the operational pathway to get us there.”Members of the diplomatic Quartet – the UN, United States, Russian Federation and European Union – were working to ensure that “in three years’ time, that dream will be a reality,” he added.Meanwhile, the President of the Security Council said talks were continuing in that body on a draft resolution put forward by the Arab Group last Friday. “That draft did not make any further progress this morning,” Ambassador Jeremy Greenstock of the United Kingdom told reporters following a closed-door meeting, noting that there would be “further corridor consultations” on the text.“If necessary we will take it up tomorrow afternoon in informal consultations,” he added.
Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. Prince William feeds a black rhino at Port Lympne Wild Animal Park in 2012Credit:Getty Seized elephant ivory tusksCredit:AFP “Ultimately, I believe that tackling the illegal trade in wildlife is in your interests as an industry,” he told leaders.“The trade undermines security; it fuels organised crime; and it robs developing countries of a natural resource that will contribute to their future prosperity.”Setting out the scale of the problem, the Duke outlined research showing record-numbers of large-scale ivory seizures, poaching and trafficking in elephant ivory is at its highest level in 25 years, and the seventh year in a row of increasing rhino poaching across Africa.“At this rate, we will not have any rhinos left in the wild by the time my children are adults,” he said. “This is a travesty, and almost unthinkable. But it will happen unless we take action.” Jamie Manuel, wildlife manager at Mugie ranch in laikipia, examines the carcass of an elephant shot for ivoryCredit:Riccardo Gangale The Duke of Cambridge has called on the shipping industry to crack down on “bloody, dangerous” illegal ivory trade, as he tell them they are “both a central part of the problem, but also the solution”.The Duke, who has made wildlife campaigning one of his key charity focuses, said the destruction of animal populations was an “almost unthinkable” travesty which, if it continued at current rates, would see no wild rhinos left on the planet by the time Prince George and Princess Charlotte were grown up.Speaking at the UK Chamber of Shipping Annual Dinner on Monday, marking its 140th anniversary, the Duke said he was grateful for the “continued support” of the industry in tackling the illegal wildlife trade, and issue “close to my heart”.But, he urged, shipping had a key part to play in closing down transport routes for ivory smugglers and criminal networks, with “containerised shipping” accounting for nearly three-quarters of the large-scale ivory seizures by weight since 2009. Urging further collaboration, he said the evidence “highlights not only the importance of your engagement, but the enormous impact you are potentially able to have on this trade.”“The British shipping industry quite rightly maintains the highest of standards across all your fields of work – environmental, safety, and innovation,” the Duke said in conclusion.“You fly the Red Ensign with pride because it means something tangible about quality and about leadership.“It is therefore hugely encouraging to think that you might also take a global lead on the illegal transportation of wildlife products.” Calling poaching “bloody, dangerous stuff”, he said one ranger is killed every week trying to protect animals, while the “big business” of illegal trade continues.“Unfortunately, for you all in this room, your industry represents both a central part of the problem, but also the solution,” the Duke said.“Transportation and logistics businesses, including shipping companies and cruise liners, are vulnerable to exploitation by illegal wildlife traffickers.“With 50,000 merchant ships trading internationally and transporting every kind of cargo imaginable, the challenge posed in trying to stop the transport of illegal wildlife products is immense.”