Mideast Quartet meets to avoid looming crisis

The Obama administration`s furious efforts to relaunch stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace talks this summer are going nowhere.

Washington: Envoys from the Middle East
diplomatic Quartet meet Monday in Washington in one of the
final attempts to avoid a major confrontation at the United
Nations between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

The senior diplomats, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon,
European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, United
States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her Russian
counterpart Sergei Lavrov will "compare notes about where we
are and plot a course forward" on the peace process, State
Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said on Friday.

The bar is set low in terms of objectives, which explains
why the United States hesitated at length before accepting to
hold the meeting, arguing the conditions for success were
simply not there. But a complete lack of diplomatic activity
also seemed impossible.

Peace talks ground to a halt in September 2010 when
Israel failed to renew a partial freeze on settlement
construction in the occupied West Bank.

Since then, the Palestinians have refused to return to
talks as long as Israel builds on land they want for a future

They are planning to seek recognition of their state
within the 1967 lines that preceded the Six-Day War when the
UN General Assembly meets in September, despite the opposition
of both Israel and the United States.

Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas has vowed to pursue
the unilateral bid for recognition barring any prospects of a
renewal of negotiations with Israel.

But negotiator Mohammed Shtayeh noted the Palestinians
may take their bid for statehood to the UN General Assembly
rather than the Security Council, where a US veto is likely,
with plans to submit the request to Ban later this month.