Mideast Quartet meets to avoid looming crisis
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Last Updated: Monday, July 11, 2011, 15:09
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 state.

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.


First Published: Monday, July 11, 2011, 15:09

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