23 September 2007 – The international meeting on Israeli-Palestinian peace scheduled for later this year in Washington should be “substantive and serious” so that the two sides can finally end their conflict and devise a durable two-state solution, members of the Middle East diplomatic Quartet said today after a meeting at United Nations Headquarters in New York.
Following a briefing by their recently appointed Representative, the former British prime minister Tony Blair, on the latest developments in the region, the Quartet issued a statement in which they expressed support for the Washington meeting proposed by United States President George W. Bush.
“Principals discussed the meeting and agreed that it should be substantive and serious, providing support to the parties in their bilateral discussions and negotiations in order to move forward urgently on a successful path to a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza that will unite all Palestinians,” the statement said.
The statement from the Quartet – which comprises the UN, the European Union, Russia and the US – noted that the aim of the Washington meeting is to bring together key members of the international community, especially in the Middle East, to mobilize their support behind recent peace moves.
“The Quartet expects the meeting to affirm its support for the two-state solution based on a rejection of violence and its support for progress by their parties in their bilateral discussions. The meeting should also review progress that has been made toward building Palestinian institutions and discuss innovative and effective ways to support further Palestinian reform.”
The Temporary International Mechanism was extended until 31 December and the statement voiced hope that before then a mechanism would be set up to provide for direct international assistance to the Palestinian Authority.
It also expressed urgent concern over the humanitarian conditions inside the Gaza Strip, where major crossing points into the small territory – which is home to 1.4 million people – have been largely closed for months.
Last week Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who hosted today’s meeting, called for Israel to overturn its decision to interrupt the provision of essential services, such as electricity and fuel, to Gaza, saying it contravened its international humanitarian and human rights obligations towards the civilian population.