Middle East diplomatic quartet to meet next week
The diplomatic group on the Middle East peace process, or quartet, will meet Monday at UN headquarters, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Friday.
"It is a year which I hope will bear fruit in the Middle East," Ban said in a conference in Geneva announcing the quartet meeting in New York, dpa reported.
"Somewhat below the radar, Israelis and Palestinians have been engaged in direct, intensive negotiations, and have created trust and a framework where none existed only two years ago," he said.
"They are setting the stage for peace and are determined to continue," he said. "It is up to the international community to help them realize that long elusive dream."
Ban said he has invited several Arab governments to take part in the quartet discussions along with the four principals: the United Nations, the European Union, the United States and Russia.
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and high-ranking EU officials will attend the meeting under Ban's leadership.
The quartet has called for the establishment of a Palestinian state living in peace alongside Israel. Various security and political steps have to be carried out before the two-state solution is achieved under what is known as a road map to end the Israeli- Palestinian conflict.