Germany hails Quartet Mideast appeal
German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday welcomed a call by the so-called Quartet for Palestinians and Israel to resume direct peace negotiations within a month and commit to seeking a deal by the end of 2012.
"The first stone (has been laid) for new negotiations," her spokesman Steffen Seibert said in a statement.
The Quartet of the European Union, Russia, the United Nations and the United States acted after Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas formally submitted his request to the United Nations for Palestine to be admitted as a member state.
Direct talks ground to a halt in September 2010 when Israel failed to renew a partial freeze on settlement construction in the occupied West Bank, but the Quartet urged both sides Friday to come back to the table and plotted out a path forward.
"Within a month there will be a preparatory meeting between the parties to agree an agenda and method of proceeding in the negotiation," a statement from the Quartet suggested.
Merkel's spokesman said that the Quartet proposal "confirms the German government's conviction that the two-state solution with a democratic Palestinian state by the side of Israel is only reachable through negotiations".
"Israel and the Palestinians are now on the road to implement their obligation to negotiate within the framework of a set timetable as quickly as possible and to start a credible targeted process," he added.
The Quartet is to convene an international conference in Moscow, "at an appropriate time", aimed at giving a boost to tackling final status issues.
The four powers also set forth plans for an international donors conference to provide "full and sustained support to the Palestinian Authority" to help it build the institutions for a state.
© 2011 AFP