UNITED NATIONS - UN SECRETARY General Ban Ki Moon expressed concern on Monday to Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about Israel's new settlement plans in the Palestinian territories, a UN spokesman said.

'The secretary general emphasised that it was vital to break the current diplomatic stalemate, resume negotiations and produce results,' the UN spokesman said in a statement after the talks, held just hours after Israel approved more than 1,300 new homes in occupied east Jerusalem.

Mr Ban 'expressed concern at the resumption of the settlement activity and recent announcements of further settlement construction in east Jerusalem.'

The secretary general also 'expressed hope for further measures by the government of Israel to ease the movement of people and goods to and from Gaza,' the spokesman said in a statement.

Ban slams Israeli construction