Mideast Quartet Summons Israel Palestinians in Peace Bid

Washington, Oct. 10 - The Quartet of the Middle East, comprised of the European Union, Russia, the United Nations, and the United States– will summon Palestinians and Israeli envoys soon in a bid to renew peace talks, the bloc announced Sunday.

“We look forward to meeting with the parties shortly. This provides us with the opportunity to explore grounds for revived negotiations to take place," former British Prime Minister Tony Blair said in a press statement Sunday. Blair has been the Quartet representative since 2007.

Members of the Quartet met in Brussels on Sunday “to encourage our Israeli and Palestinian partners to resume substantive negotiations as soon as possible” Catherine Ashton, the EU’s foreign policy chief and the host of the meeting, said afterwards.

plan issued on Sept. 23 by the Quartet on the Middle East – the United States, the United Nations, the European Union and Russia – calls for both sides to meet this month to formulate a platform for talks and reach an agreement by the end of 2012.

The Israelis have accepted the plan while the Palestinians have rejected it in its current form.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said last week that “Israel welcomes the Quartet’s call for direct negotiations between the parties without preconditions. While Israel has some concerns, it will raise them at the appropriate time.”  Netanyahu said the Palestinians should “enter into direct negotiations without delay.”

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