Middle East diplomatic quartet to meet next week

December 13th, 2008 - 3:51 pm ICT by IANS  

New York, Dec 13 (DPA) The diplomatic group on the Middle East peace process, or the quartet, will meet Monday at the UN headquarters, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has said.”It is a year which I hope will bear fruit in the Middle East,” Ban said Friday in a conference in Geneva announcing the 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,” he said. “It is up to the international community to help them realize that long elusive dream.”

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

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and high-ranking EU officials will attend the meeting under Ban’s leadership.

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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