(photo credit: AP)
The Quartet of Mideast negotiators hopes to meet with Israel before the summer for the first time, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said Thursday.
Solana said the Quartet - the European Union, the United States, Russia and the United Nations - wants to engage in talks with Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates "in the next few weeks".
"What we would really hope to do before the summer is to get the Quartet together with these countries and with the parties to the conflict - a meeting with Israel and a meeting with Palestine. That would be the first time Israel has met with the Quartet," Solana told the European Parliament.
The Quartet has been seeking a way to re-establish contacts with the new Palestinian national unity government, which still includes Hamas militants unwilling to commit themselves to demands that they renounce violence, recognize Israel's right to exist, and adhere to previous international agreements.
The EU has said it would keep an aid boycott against the new Palestinian government in place for the time being, but would forge links with moderate members of the unity government.
"It would be a mistake for us to cut off all contacts with the people who are part of this new government and have worked with us for many years," Solana said.