Egypt crisis makes Mideast talks 'imperative': Quartet

5th February 2011, Comments 0 comments

The Middle East Quartet of diplomatic powers on Saturday urged Israelis and Palestinians to urgently resume peace talks in light of popular revolts in Egypt and elsewhere in the Arab world.

"In view of the developments in the Middle East, the Quartet expressed its belief that further delay in the resumption of negotiations is detrimental to prospects for regional peace and security," the group said in a statement.

"The Quartet emphasised the need for the parties and others concerned to undertake urgently the efforts to expedite Israeli-Palestinian and comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace, which is imperative to avoiding outcomes detrimental to the region."

The statement was issued after a meeting between US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and UN chief Ban Ki-moon in Munich, Germany.

"The Quartet took note of dramatic developments in Egypt and elsewhere in the region in recent days," the statement said.

"The Quartet members considered the implications of these events for Arab-Israeli peace and agreed to discuss this further in upcoming meetings as a matter of high priority."

Envoys from the four Middle East peace mediators will seek to hold separate talks with Israeli and Palestinian negotiators in Brussels, it said. Clinton, Lavrov, Ashton and Ban would then meet again in mid-March.

The Palestinians walked out of peace talks after Israel refused in September to renew a temporary ban on building settlements in the West Bank -- on land earmarked for a future Palestinian state.

© 2011 AFP

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