Middle East peace talks start in Egypt

November 9th, 2008 - 4:56 pm ICT by IANS  

Sharm el Sheikh (Egypt), Nov 9 (Xinhua) The meeting of the international Quartet on the Middle East peace process opened Sunday in this Egyptian Red Sea resort.The Quartet, which groups the US, the European Union (EU), the UN and Russia, will evaluate the development of the Middle East peace process, particularly peace negotiations between the Palestinians and Israel.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana are attending the meeting.

Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas are expected to brief the meeting about the peace talks. The meeting comes a year after a US-hosted conference at Annapolis, Maryland.

At Annapolis, Palestinian and Israeli leaders pledged to try to reach a peace agreement by the end of 2008.

But the US admitted that there are slim chances for the two sides to reach a deal this year.

Rice, who arrived Saturday in the Egyptian resort, said Thursday that a year-end target date for a Palestinian-Israeli agreement was no longer realistic.

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