Catherine Ashton (R) 311.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Valentin Flauraud)
European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton on Wednesday said that the goal at a Quartet meeting in Washington scheduled for Monday will be "to try and adopt a statement that will help the Israelis and Palestinians to bridge the gap, and allow for a return to the negotiating table."
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The Quartet of Middle East peace negotiators -- the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations -- are scheduled to meet on July 11, a senior UN diplomat said last week.
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Ashton, during a speech to the European Parliament on 'North Africa and the Arab world', said that the EU was "united" on the need to get talks moving.
"The changes in the surrounding neighborhood, the speech of President
Obama in May, the moves towards Palestinian reconciliation, the
approaching UN General Assembly: all these bring a renewed focus on the
possibility of talks and a solution. I have worked tirelessly for this
possibility – working closely with President Abbas, Prime Minister
Fayyad and Prime Minister Netanyahu and with many others in the region;
and with our Quartet partners and with the Arab States to look for a
strong and ambitious way forward, in which the EU plays the leading role
this Parliament wishes us to," Ashton stated.
A round of secret meetings with US envoys aimed at getting the two
parties back around the table has not yet achieved any breakthrough and
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas recently reaffirmed that
he planned to win Palestinians UN recognition this coming September.
Last month, the quartet voiced strong support for US President Barack Obama's vision of Israeli-Palestinian peace.
"The Quartet agrees that moving forward on the basis of territory and
security provides a foundation for Israelis and Palestinians to reach a
final resolution of the conflict through serious and substantive
negotiations and mutual agreement on all core issues," the group said in
Reuters contributed to this report.