No progress on Quartet Mideast statement: British FM

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The diplomatic Quartet on the Middle East has made no progress toward drafting a statement aimed at reviving Palestinian-Israeli peace talks, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said Tuesday.

"We are all talking about how we can... get Israelis and Palestinians back into negotiations," Hague told reporters when asked about efforts to draft a statement by the Quartet, which is comprised of the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations.

"That is our objective. That's the objective of all the European Union countries," Hague said ahead of a meeting with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York.

"So there is no progress to report on that as we speak," Hague added.

A senior US official told reporters Monday that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov discussed elements of a Quartet statement aimed at finding a path back to peace talks and averting a showdown over a Palestinian bid for full UN membership as a state.

The Palestinians launched their drive at the United Nations after peace talks that the United States revived a year ago collapsed weeks later when Israel refused to renew a partial freeze on settlements.

© 2011 AFP

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