News / Middle East

Quartet Urges Extension of Israeli Settlement Moratorium

Major world powers meeting at the United Nations Tuesday urged Israel to extend its moratorium on most West Bank settlement building. The international Middle East Quartet voiced strong support for the new set of direct Israeli-Palestinian peace talks that began this month.

The international Middle East Quartet has added its voice to those urging Israel to extend the self-declared moratorium on West Bank settlement activity that is due to expire at the end of the month.

The four-power grouping, consisting of the European Union, Russia, the United Nations and the United States, was formed in 2002 to advance the regional peace process and issued a road map to a peace accord a year later.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has repeatedly warned his delegation will quit the U.S.-brokered direct talks unless the 10-month old moratorium is extended.

In a joint statement after their meeting at U.N. headquarters, the quartet principals including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the commendable moratorium has had a positive impact on peace efforts and should be continued.

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner was more emphatic in a talk with reporters, saying all 27 European Union countries are exerting diplomatic pressure to get an extension.

"We are against the settlements," said Bernard Kouchner. "And really, we press and pray our Israeli friends to stop, to follow to go on moratorium and to stop settlements. We need that. Otherwise, the Palestinians were very clear they want to stop the talks, the negotiations, and the dialogue. And it will be impossible to support."

Secretary Clinton, who took part last week in sessions of the direct talks in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt and Jerusalem, urged support for the peace process Tuesday in a joint meeting here with Arab League foreign ministers and separate meetings with her Libyan and Qatari counterparts.

U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell, meanwhile, held a joint working-level meeting  with Israeli and Palestinian officials in an effort to arrange the next leaders meeting of Mr. Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

State Department Spokesman P.J. Crowley said while the United States and its Quartet partners are encouraging the parties to overcome the settlements issue and continue the process, a peace accord cannot be imposed on them.

"Ultimately this has to be something that they believe in and are willing to commit to, and overcome obstacles and reach an agreement," said P.J. Crowley. "All we can do is remind them, as Secretary Clinton emphasized last week, that absent this process and absent an agreement, there is no security for Israel and there is no state for the Palestinians."

The Quartet statement urged the two parties to refrain from provocations and inflammatory rhetoric.

It said unilateral actions by either side, including settlement activity, cannot prejudge the outcome of negotiations and will not be recognized by the international community.

The Quartet welcomed Israeli actions to improve access to Gaza, and easing restrictions on movement in the West Bank, and urged further Israeli steps to facilitate Palestinian state-building.

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches 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.
Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnelsi
X
July 24, 2014 4:42 AM
The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video MH17's 'Black Boxes' Could Reveal Crash Details

The government of Malaysia now has custody of the cockpit voice and flight data recorders from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was hit by a missile over Ukraine before crashing last week. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports, the so-called black boxes may hold information about the final minutes of the flight.
Video

Video Living in the Shadows Panel Discussion

Following a screening of the new VOA documentary, "AIDS - Living in the Shadows," at the World AIDS conference in Melbourne, a panel discussed the film and how to combat the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid