Quartet plan Mid-East peace talks in Spring

Hopes of a Mid-East peace deal before the end of the Bush administration appear to have been quietly put aside by certain parties involved in the process.

The so-called Mid-East Quartet is now talking about an international meeting on the situation next Spring.

The Quartet met on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, and a hastily-convened UN security council meeting called by the Arab countries.

The Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was armed with a map of Israeli settlement building which he insisted blocked any possibility of a Palestinian state, risking a new cycle of violence. His supporters agreed.

Amr Moussa, Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, said: “The consolidation and escalation of the settlement policies and practices in the occupied territories have reached a point capable of killing any hope for a viable Palestinian state.”

The Quartet, representing the US, the EU, Russia and the UN, has expressed its profound preoccupation with the new building in the disputed settlements, agreeing that it is having a negative impact on talks. It has called on Israel to stop construction. Equally it has called on the Palestinians to crack down more on terrorism.

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