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Abdullah attends Quartet meet

posted on 17/12/2008: 705 views



UAE Foreign Minister HH Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan participated on Monday in a joint meeting held by the Arab liaison group of the Arab League with the Middle East Quartet to discuss ways of reviving the Palestinian-Israeli peace negotiations.

The United Nations and its diplomatic partners in the search for Middle East peace - the European Union (EU), Russia and the United States (Quartet) - called yesterday for an intensification of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, urging both sides to take the necessary steps to reach this goal.

The Quartet, in a top-level meeting hosted by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at UN Headquarters in New York, called on the Palestinians to continue their efforts to reform the security services.

At the same time, the group called on Israel to freeze all settlement activities, which have a negative impact on the negotiating environment and on Palestinian economic recovery, and to address the growing threat of settler extremism.

"The Quartet expressed its considered view that the bilateral negotiations process launched at Annapolis (last year) is irreversible and that these negotiations should be intensified in order to put an end to the conflict and to establish as soon as possible the state of Palestine, living side by side in peace and security with Israel," said a statement issued at the end of the meeting.

"The Quartet affirmed that a final treaty and a lasting peace will be reached through simultaneous and mutually re-enforcing efforts on three tracks: negotiations; building the institutions of a Palestinian state, including facilitating economic development through an improvement of conditions on the ground; and implementation of the parties' obligations under the Roadmap, as stated in the Annapolis Joint Understanding." The partners have long championed the Roadmap, which embodies the two-State solution, first set for achievement by the end of 2005. At the Annapolis meeting in the United States last year, participants set the hoped-for target for the end of this year, and UN officials have voiced regret that this, too, has proved impractical, while welcoming the intensified talks that have ensued.

Turning to the Gaza Strip where Hamas, which does not recognize Israel's right to exist, seized control from the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority (PA) in 2006, the Quartet called for a continuation of the calm between Gaza and southern Israel, due to expire at the end of the week, that has reduced violence between Israel and Palestinians there.

"The Quartet emphasized that the provision of humanitarian supplies, including food, fuel, pharmaceuticals, water and sewage maintenance items, and to the people in Gaza must be assured continuously," the statement said.

"The Quartet also reiterated its previous call for Israel to allow into Gaza sufficient materials to facilitate the resumption of stalled UN and other donor projects."

Attending the meeting with Mr. Ban were EU High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana and European Commissioner for External Relations Benita Ferrero-Waldner, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Arab League Secretary General Amr Musa.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Mr. Ban thanked the outgoing administration of President George W. Bush for its efforts to advance the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. "These efforts have been tireless and are continuing. Very important progress is underway," he said.

"In this respect we look forward to working closely from the outset with the administration of President-elect Barack Obama to achieve the goal of the two-State solution and comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace." – Emirates News Agency, WAM

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