Mideast Quartet to meet amid stalled peace talks

AFP , Saturday 10 Mar 2012

The UN says top officials from the United States, Russia, United Nations and European Union will meet on Monday to discuss deadlocked efforts to end the Israel-Palestinian conflict

Mideast Quartet
Mideast Quartet (Photo: AP)

The Quartet of Middle East negotiators - the United States, Russia, the United Nations and European Union - will meet on Monday to discuss the long-stalled peace process between Israel and the Palestinians, the United Nations said.

The U.N. press office on Friday said U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov would meet at U.N. headquarters ahead of a special U.N. Security Council session on the Arab Spring uprisings.

The other Quartet principals - EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and Quartet envoy Tony Blair - will participate via video link.

Russia has been pushing for a Quartet meeting, U.N. diplomats have said.

It was unclear whether the group planned to issue a statement to encourage a resumption of talks between the Israelis and Palestinians, an issue that has been overshadowed by the debate between Israel and Washington over a possible military strike on Iran due to Tehran's nuclear program.

Riven by internal quarrels, the Palestinians have struggled to make their voice heard in recent months. World attention has shifted to the U.S. presidential elections, the escalating violence in Syria and Iran's nuclear program.

Ban Ki-moon said in Jerusalem last month that Israel and the Palestinians were running out of time to solve their conflict and ought to give the highest priority to resuming peace talks.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, as a condition for negotiations, has demanded that Israel agree to the establishment of a Palestinian state on all lands occupied in the 1967 Middle East war.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has refused to accept that request and has balked at the Palestinians' demands to freeze Israeli settlement activities on lands the Palestinians want for a future state. 

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