Mideast Quartet urges Israel, Palestinians to honor commitments

Other News Materials 3 May 2008 10:58 (UTC +04:00)

The Mideast Quartet of international peace brokers met Friday to urge Israeli and Palestinian leaders to honor their commitments to the peace process, reported VOA.

Members of the Quartet - the United States, European Union, Russia and the United Nations - called on Israel to "freeze all settlement activity" in the West Bank and the Palestinian Authority to fulfill its commitment to fight terrorism.

In the West Bank, meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority is planning to deploy hundreds of police in the troubled city of Jenin Saturday, to take over some security duties from the Israeli army.

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas agreed on the deployment in March. A similar deployment of Palestinian police took place in Nablus last year.

The Quartet meeting in London also expressed "deep concern" Friday about the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip, which has been under an Israeli blockade since Hamas militants seized power there last June. Israel says the blockade is needed to stop militants firing rockets from Gaza.

Rice and the Quartet's regional envoy, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, say there have been advances behind-the-scenes in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and that a peace accord is still possible by the end of the year.

The Quartet also urged Arab states to fulfill their political and financial roles in support of the peace process.

U.S. officials say the Palestinian Authority faces a budget shortfall of up to $600 million this year.