European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker poses with Quartet Representative to the Middle East and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair (R).
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Israeli officials met with a high-level Quartet delegation this week, despite the fact that it includes an EU representative with whom Israel has said it will not meet on a bilateral basis to discuss the diplomatic process with the Palestinians.
The Quartet delegation, with representatives from the US, Russia, the EU and the UN, arrived Monday with the aim of trying to de-escalate the situation and find a way to move the diplomatic process forward.
The delegation met in the Prime Minister’s Office Monday night for a meeting the Foreign Ministry said was “long, substantive and serious” – discussing ways to stop the violence, restore security, stop incitement and look for future horizons in the diplomatic process.
Quartet representatives met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s envoy Yitzhak Molcho, Foreign Ministry director-general Dore Gold and head of the Foreign Ministry’s International Division, Roni Leshno-Yaar.
According to a statement put out by the Foreign Ministry, both the Quartet and Israel agreed that a continuation of a diplomatic process is the best guarantor for peace and security. Israel stressed that it attributes importance to the continued negotiations.
The decision to dispatch the delegation was made at a meeting of the Quartet in September, but it was postponed first in October, and then earlier this month.
Netanyahu directed the Foreign Ministry last month to suspend all discussions with the EU on the diplomatic process
because of its decision to label products from the settlements.
The suspension is pending a reassessment in Jerusalem of its ties with the EU institutions A senior government official told the Post on Tuesday, however, that Israel would meet with the Quartet delegation, because it had no intention of punishing the US, Russia or the UN. The official said that a separate meeting with the EU envoy, Fernando Gentilini, would probably not take place.
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