Senior International Figures Push to Revive Mideast Peace Talks

Posted July 11th, 2011 at 3:25 am (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

A group of senior international diplomats is set to meet Monday in Washington to discuss ways to revive stalled peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Friday the group, known as the Mideast Quartet, wants to assess where the process stands and “plot a course forward.”

The talks will be led by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and European Union policy chief Catherine Ashton.

Nuland said the group is concerned about getting the two sides back to the negotiating table ahead of a planned Palestinian bid to be officially recognized as an independent state when the United Nations General Assembly meets in September.

Palestinian leaders have said they will seek state recognition based on pre-1967 borders.

Israel has denounced the Palestinian U.N. initiative, saying it would shatter efforts to reach a negotiated settlement to the Middle East conflict.

The United States is also against the Palestinian bid, but President Barack Obama has said peace talks should be based on the 1967 borders.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the U.S. Congress in June that Israel will not withdraw to those borders, saying they are indefensible.

Talks between the two sides have been stalled since last September, partly due to Palestinian objections to Israeli settlement construction on land they want as part of a future state.