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(photo credit: AP)
A senior Arab League official on Tuesday criticized the so-called "Quartet" of Mideast peacemakers for failing to promote peace between the Arabs and Israel.
Ahmed Beni Heli's remarks came a day before representatives of "Quartet" _ the United States, European Union, Russia and United Nations _ meet in Cairo to investigate efforts to restart the deadlocked Mideast peace.
"Regrettably, it has failed to play any role and was prevented to advance the peace process," said Ben Heli.
Ben Heli, the undersecretary-general of the Cairo-based league, said the "Quartet's failure to stand up to the Israeli attempts to abort all peace initiatives" was part of the reason it's failed to bring peace to the region.
On Sunday, Arab foreign ministers called for a multilateral conference to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict during a meeting that also was attended by Palestinian Foreign Minister Mahmoud Zahar, of Hamas.
The ministers, including Zahar, said the conference should work for a settlement based on the principle of "land for peace."
The endorsement by Zahar marked the first time Hamas, which refuses to renounce violence against the Jewish state, has indicated it would consider making amends with Israel.
On Monday, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said in an interview with the Palestinian daily al-Quds he would be willing to talk to Hamas if it accepts the conditions presented by the international community.
Egyptian diplomats said Assistant Secretary of State David Welch will attend Wednesday meeting along with senior diplomats from Russia, the United Nations and the European Union.
They said they will be trying to prepare for a meeting later in the month in Jordan which will bring top officials from the "Quartet" for further discussions.
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