Quartet meeting to attempt to restart talks likely in July

Proposed summit would take place days before PA would be expected to inform secretary-general of its desire to seek recognition at UN.

June 28, 2011 22:55
2 minute read.
Members of the Middle East Quartet

quartet REUTERS 311. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Talks are underway to convene a Quartet meeting at the foreign ministerial level in mid July to propose a formula for peace talks that could coax Israel and the Palestinian Authority back to the negotiating table, thereby keeping the PA from taking its bid for statehood to the UN in September, Israeli officials said Tuesday.

Envoys from the US, the EU, Russia and the UN – which all make up the Quartet – met last Friday in Brussels and discussed the possibility of a meeting between US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, UN Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon, and Quartet envoy Tony Blair in Washington on July 11.

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There has, however, not been any formal announcement of such a meeting.

Blair discussed the issue during meetings in Jerusalem last week.

The Quartet meeting, if it were held, would take place a matter of days before the PA would be expected to inform Ban Ki-moon of its desire to seek recognition at the UN.

If the Palestinians indeed want to be admitted to the UN, they need to submit a request to the Secretary- General by mid July, so that a committee would be established that would then give a recommendation on the matter to the Security Council.

If the Council adopted such a resolution, it would then go to the General Assembly which opens its 66th session on September 13 for a vote. It would take a two-thirds majority for this to pass.

This route, however, is considered far fetched, since it is widely believed that the US would veto such a resolution in the Security Council.

Among other ideas currently being floated would be for the Quartet to get the sides to agree on language for a new Security Council resolution on the conflict that would contain elements which would be important for both sides, and which would be brought to the Security Council and form the foundation of future talks.

The Palestinians have made clear that they would like to see the parameters laid down by US President Barack Obama calling for negotiations to be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, as part of this formula. In order to make this idea palatable to Israel, there is discussion about inserting other wording that would somehow refer to Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, at a speech on Tuesday to the Jewish Agency Board of Governors, reiterated his demand that PA President Mahmoud Abbas “stand before his people” and “say these six word, ‘I will accept the Jewish State’.” He has to say it,” Netanyahu said. “And the only way that it’s going to happen is by the external pressure that says to the Palestinian leadership: Just say it.”

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