UN: Plan for Israeli-Palestinian talks "more effective" than before

UN: Plan for Israeli-Palestinian talks "more effective" than before

The Middle East diplomatic Quartet has provided a "more effective" plan for the resumption of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA), the United Nations said Tuesday, DPA reported.

"There are now some building blocks in place that could help make negotiations more effective than before," UN political chief B Lynn Pascoe told the UN Security Council session on the situation in the Middle East, the first since last week's Palestinian UN bid.

The council meeting was presided over by Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati, whose country supports the Palestinian quest for statehood and UN membership.

The council is reviewing the Palestinian application for membership, which was submitted last week by President Mahmoud Abbas.

Pascoe said the plan presented by the Quartet has a clear timetable, expectations for proposals by Israel and the PA, and the active support of the UN, European Union, the United States and Russia - known as the Quartet.

"It will not be easy to chart a way forward, but now is the time for everyone to give diplomacy a chance," Pascoe said, noting that both Israel and the Palestinians remained far apart on the issues.

Pascoe said the Palestinians have achieved a "success story" because they are now capable of running a state following months of preparations in Ramallah.

The Quartet's proposals called for Israel and the PA to return to negotiations with an agreed agenda within one month, work out comprehensive proposals to resolve borders and security within three months and make substantive progress within six months. It called for an agreement to the conflict by the end of 2012.

Pascoe renewed a UN criticism of Israel's housing constructions as "illegal" and contrary to its commitment to peace with the Palestinians.

The Jerusalem District Planning Committee approved Tuesday the construction of 1,100 homes in Gilo, a part of Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem captured in the 1967 Middle East War.

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