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

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

Analysts say move by President Xi is an effort to win more party support, take step toward economic reforms, removing those who would stand in way of change More

South Africa Land Reforms Still Contentious 20 Years Later

Activists argue that the pace of land reform is slow and biased; legal experts question how some proposed reforms would be implemented More

In Vietnam, Religious Freedoms Violated, UN Finds

Beliefs reportedly prompt heavy surveillance, intimidation and travel restrictions 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.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid