Iran Views Mideast Quartet Meeting as Another Failure

A05268079.jpgTEHRAN (FNA)- Iran said on Monday that the Mideast quartet meeting in the Red Sea resort town of Sharm el-Sheik, Egypt, spelled the failure of the Annapolis peace initiative launched last year by the Bush administration.

Leaders of the so-called quartet of Middle East peace mediators met in Sharm el-Sheik on Sunday to push forward the peace process meant to resolve the conflict between the Palestinians and Israel. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attended the meeting.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hassan Qashqavi termed the Sharm el-Sheikh summit as ‘another vain effort’ to create justice for the Palestinians.

“This meeting was a continuation of Rice’s (efforts during) 19 futile trips to resolve Middle East issues, and in fact sealed the failure of the Annapolis initiative,” he said.

“The failure of the Annapolis Conference was unequivocally acknowledged at the Sharm el-Sheikh meeting,” Qashqavi said, suggesting that such summits do not yield the desired results.

He added that Rice, whose mandate as top US diplomat comes to an end on January 20, essentially dumped the problem on the future Obama administration, which itself “signified the failure of peace efforts in the Middle East”.

Last November, Israeli and Palestinian leaders agreed at a US-hosted conference, held in Maryland’s Annapolis, to reach a comprehensive peace deal before President George W. Bush leaves office in January 2009.

The Annapolis Conference ended inconclusively, failing to provide solutions to key issues, including the status of Jerusalem (al-Quds) as well as the fate of Palestinian refugees and prisoners.

While the Bush administration has publicly insisted that an agreement would be finalized by the end of the incumbent US president’s term in office, Washington has announced that it no longer hopes to be able to establish peace within the promised deadline.

“We do not think it is likely it will happen before the end of the year,” said White House spokeswoman Dana Perino.

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