Thursday, October 6, 2011

This should be interesting: Mideast Quartet to Meet Sunday

Envoys from the Mideast Quartet will meet Sunday in hopes of restarting stalled talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
By Gavriel Queenann
First Publish: 10/6/2011, 3:10 AM
Mideast Quartet
Mideast Quartet
Israel news photo by the UN
Envoys from the Middle East Quartet -- the European Union, Russia, the United Nations and the United States -- will meet in Brussels on Sunday in hopes of restarting moribund peace-talks between officials in Jeruslaem and Ramallah, Reuters reports.

The United States will be represented by David Hale, US special envoy for Middle East peace, who will also hold meetings in Berlin, Paris and London, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said at her daily briefing on Wednesday.

Asked if the envoys would discuss aid dollars for the PA in addition to restarting talks, Nulad said diplomats were expected "to discuss the full range of issues in front of them".

Direct talks have been stalled for two years despite a 10-month building freeze in 'disputed territories' captured by Israel in the 1967 Six Day War by Israel that had been intended to bring PA officials back to the negotiating table.

Instead, PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas imposed additional preconditions for negotiations and, when the freeze expired, demanded another before launching his unilateral drive for statehood recognition at the United Nations outside the bilateral framework of the Olso Accords.

In September Abbas submitted his application to the world body despite a promised negative recommendation from the United States, which would scuttle the move, and  a now-fulfilled promise from US legislators to freeze aid dollars to the cash-strapped PA.

The Quartet on September 23 called for preparatory talks to begin in 30 days with an eye to reaching a deal by the end of 2012.

Israel has accepted a Quartet proposal for resumed talks without preconditions, but officials in Ramallah have rejected the proposal saying it is "too vague to be useful" and did not include their own preconditions for talks.

Israeli officials say PA demands for another building freeze, when they ignored the last one, is a fair accompli to maintain their unilateral course while blaming Israel for failed talks.