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

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video VOA EXCLUSIVE: US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs countermeasure at UN More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants 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.
Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prisoni
X
Heather Murdock
July 01, 2015 8:59 PM
As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs