Members of the international "quartet" on the Middle East, the United States, Russia, European Union and the United Nations, met at the U.N. Friday to discuss their stalled "road map" to Middle East peace. They appealed to Israel and the Palestinians to take immediate steps to implement the plan.
The meeting came in the shadow of violence that has halted action on the peace plan. And in a joint statement, the "quartet" partners urged "immediate, decisive" steps by the Palestinians to stop violence and they called on Israel to, among other things, stop settlement activity.
Secretary of State Colin Powell told reporters a renewal of progress depends in large part on whether the Palestinians can form a government willing to move against terrorism:
"We are now waiting to see whether or not the Palestinian people are able to put in place through their own system, a prime minister who will enjoy political authority and control over all the security forces so that we can start moving again down the path laid out by the road map," he said.
The quartet members said they would step up regional travel by their Mideast envoys and convene again before the end of the year.