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Source: Department of Public Information (DPI)
United Nations News Service (See also > DPI)
9 November 2008

Middle East Quartet encouraged by progress in Israeli-Palestinian talks

9 November 2008 – The Middle East diplomatic Quartet, which includes the United Nations, today called on the international community to put its full weight behind Israel and the Palestinians in their efforts to resolve their long-running conflict after the two sides reported that current negotiations are "substantial and promising."

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni briefed the Quartet at a meeting in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, on the latest developments under the negotiating track launched a year ago in the United States city of Annapolis.

Mr. Abbas and Ms. Livni told the Quartet, which comprises the UN, the European Union, Russia and the United States, that they have succeeded in securing a solid negotiating structure for continued progress.

The two officials said Israel and the Palestinians have engaged not only on core issues, but also on other topics necessary to turn into reality the two-State solution outlined under the so-called Road Map peace process.

Outlining the key principles guiding the negotiations, Mr. Abbas and Ms. Livni said the negotiations must remain continuous, uninterrupted, direct and bilateral, and that nothing would be considered agreed until everything was agreed. They also said the negotiations need to reach a comprehensive agreement addressing all the issues, rather than announce agreement on selected items in isolation.

In a statement released after the meeting, the Quartet “reiterated its commitment to supporting the parties'' efforts, underlined its commitment to the irreversibility of the bilateral negotiations, pledged to respect the bilateral and confidential nature of the negotiations.”

In addition, it called on “all states to adhere to these same commitments ... [and] lend their diplomatic and political support to that end, including by encouraging and recognizing progress to date.”

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon attended today's meeting in Sharm el-Sheikh on behalf of the UN, and Quartet's Representative Tony Blair also participated.

The Quartet members called on States and international organizations to assist in the development of the Palestinian economy, and to contribute to the Palestinian institution-building program in preparation for statehood.

Jenin was also spotlighted as an example of the successful reforms instituted by the Palestinian Government and of cooperation between the two sides, made possible by the Annapolis process. In addition, the deployment of Palestinian security services in Hebron was cited as a sign of the progress as a result of increased cooperation between the parties.

The Quartet emphasized its determination to continue to work with Israel and the Palestinian government to facilitate access and movement as well as an improvement in conditions on the ground to address urgent humanitarian needs, foster economic activity and improve the atmosphere for the negotiations.

The group also “reiterated its call to the parties to fully implement their obligations under phase one of the Roadmap, including in relation to freezing settlement activity and the dismantlement of the infrastructure of terrorism.”

The members of the Quartet resolved to continue the peace process and agreed that another international meeting could be held in Moscow in the spring of 2009.

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