CAIRO, Egypt, June 19–A meeting of the Quartet of Mideast peacemakers due next week in Egypt will likely be put off after some partners asked for a delay following the Palestinian Hamas’ takeover of the Gaza Strip, top Arab diplomats said on Tuesday.The group of international peacemakers was due to meet June 25 in Egypt to probe the possibility of reviving a stalled Mideast peace initiative that was re-launched at an Arab summit in Saudi Arabia in March and includes a land-for-peace deal with the Zionist regime.
They were expected to meet with an Arab League delegation, called the Arab Quartet, to push forward the peace efforts.
“There are some doubts that the meeting will be held now. Some members have asked for a postponement,” a senior Arab diplomat said on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the media.
The diplomat also refrained from naming which members of the Quartet — which along with the United States includes Russia, the United Nations and the European Union — asked for the postponement.
Later, a spokesman for the Egyptian foreign ministry confirmed the request for postponement and said it was due to the events in Gaza. “There is a tendency to postpone (the meeting) until things are clear with the Palestinians and in the Palestinian-Israeli relations,” said Alaa el-Hadidy in a statement.
In Brussels, an EU official confirmed the meeting may be put off or held in another location.
The grouping’s four members will consult by telephone later Tuesday to decide how to proceed in view of the latest developments in Gaza and the installation of a new Palestinian government, said the official, who declined to be identified due to the sensitivity of the issue.
The original reason for holding the gathering in Egypt was to give Quartet members an opportunity to meet jointly with the Arab Quartet, the Zionist regime and the Palestinian Authority, the official said.
But because of the “dynamic changes on the ground,” it may be more useful for the Quartet representatives to meet separately first in order to coordinate their stance, the EU official said.
A diplomat for the Arab League, which is based in Cairo, expressed regret over the postponement.
“We hope that a new and near date will be fixed, the meeting is important,” said Hesham Youssef, a senior aide to the League’s secretary general Amr Moussa.