News / Middle East

Mideast Quartet Discusses Way Forward on Peace Process

Israeli and Palestinian protesters with their respective flags (file photo montage)
Israeli and Palestinian protesters with their respective flags (file photo montage)
Lisa Bryant

Two weeks after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas formally applied for statehood recognition at the United Nations, envoys of the so-called Middle East peace Quartet met in Brussels Sunday to plot a way forward. The talks came as one U.N. agency appears to be heading toward recognizing full Palestinian membership.

The Brussels talks among members of the Middle East Quartet - the United States, Russia, the United Nations and the European Union - follow its call in September for stalled peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians to resume within 30 days. The Quartet wants the two sides to reach a deal next year.

The Middle East peace process was top news at the United Nations General Assembly meetings in New York last month, when Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas formally applied to the Security Council for full U.N. membership. The United States has threatened to veto the bid, arguing that Palestinian statehood can only be achieved through direct peace talks with Israel. But in a September interview with the BBC, the Quartet's special representative Tony Blair sounded an optimistic note.

"Although there's a lot of sound and fury [and] obviously strong rhetoric in the General Assembly, there's also a very strong belief on the part of the international community that now is the time to get back to negotiations without pre-conditions."

Blair said the Quartet members are close to agreeing on details of peace negotiations. He said that would make it easier to bridge differences between Palestinians and Israelis once they actually sit down for talks.

But analyst Yossi Mekelberg, of the policy institute Chatham House and Regents College in London, says the Quartet has failed to forcefully push the two sides toward a peace settlement that includes all the major sticking points.

"If they can't actually make their will happen, who would? Either they come not only with another declaration but a timetable - set what the Quartet wants - and tell the Palestinians and Israelis…are you serious about it?.. if you're serious about it, really become serious about it."

Mekelberg also believes the Quartet needs to offer specific carrots and sticks to move the process forward.

"We are ready to support you. We'll finance any peace agreements [that] will be costly. We'll deal with the diplomatic implications of dealing with the refugees. We'll deal with the security issues …we'll provide you with all of this, if you're serious. But we'll also tell you what's going to happen if you're not serious."

U.S. President Barack Obama faces an election year in 2012, further complicating chances of reaching a meaningful peace agreement. But in Paris, the Palestinian push for recognition gained traction last week, when the board of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization agreed to vote on Palestinian membership later this month.

 

Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Video British Fighters on Frontline of Islamic State Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid