Middle East quartet meets at UN Headquarters
The diplomatic group on the Middle East peace process, also known as the Quartet, is scheduled to meet at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on Monday afternoon under the leadership of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the UN spokesperson's office said, news.xinhuanet reported.
Ban is scheduled to meet at 3:00 p.m. EST with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Javier Solana, the high representative for common foreign and security policy of the European Union, and European Commissioner for External Relations Bnita Ferrero-Waldner. The meeting is slated to take about one hour before they hold a press conference.
The meeting, which kicks off one day before the UN Security Council meets Tuesday on a draft resolution on the Middle East, begins here just a few weeks before the swear-in of a new U.S. president in Washington. The meeting mirrors another round of UN efforts to promote the peace process in the Middle East after the Palestinian-Israeli talks have been hindered by violence and disputes over Jewish settlements in the West Bank.
The Quartet has called for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state living in peace together with 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 lengthy conflict between Israel and Palestine.
Also on Monday afternoon, Ban is scheduled to meet members of the Quartet and several Arab foreign ministers, who the secretary-general has invited to take part in the Quartet talks alongside the four principals: the United Nations, the European Union, Russia and the United States.