Middle East quartet optimistic about peace talks

September 27th, 2008 - 10:53 am ICT by IANS  

New York, Sep 27 (DPA) The Middle East quartet charged with overseeing the Israeli-Palestinian peace process has voiced confidence in the ongoing talks between the two sides towards a final resolution to the long conflict.In a statement following talks at the UN in New York Friday, the quartet, made up of the UN, the US, European Union (EU) and Russia, said that a “meaningful and results-oriented” process was underway and again called for both sides to reach a deal by the end of this year.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said she still believed a comprehensive agreement on a two-state solution was possible by the end of 2008, a goal first set in November 2007 at a US-hosted summit in Annapolis, Maryland.

Rice said the mere fact there was a process represented a change from the seven years before Annapolis.

“They have come quite a long way from those dark days,” she said.

Quartet representatives were likely to travel to the region before the end of 2008 to be briefed on the progress of the talks.

The quartet again called on Israel to freeze all settlement activity and dismantle those settlements built after March 2001. It also condemned terrorist attacks against Israelis and ongoing rocket fire coming out of the Palestinian territories.

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