Middle East diplomatic quartet to meet at UN

December 15th, 2008 - 6:42 am ICT by IANS  

New York, Dec 25 (DPA) The diplomatic group on the Middle East peace process, or quartet, will meet Monday at UN headquarters, a few weeks before the change of administration in Washington.US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and high-ranking European Union (EU) officials will attend the meeting under the leadership of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

Ban said he has invited several Arab governments to take part in the quartet discussions along with the four principals: the UN, the EU, the US and Russia.

“It is a year which I hope will bear fruit in the Middle East,” Ban said at a conference Friday in Geneva announcing the quartet meeting in New York.

“Somewhat below the radar, Israelis and Palestinians have been engaged in direct, intensive negotiations, and have created trust and a framework where none existed only two years ago,” he said.

“They are setting the stage for peace and are determined to continue,” Ban said. “It is up to the international community to help them realize that long elusive dream.”

The quartet has called for the establishment of a Palestinian state living in peace alongside Israel. Various security and political steps have to be carried out before the two-state solution is achieved under what is known as a road map to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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