Ashton: Goal of Quartet meeting to set framework for talks

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."
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.
She also addressed the blockade of the Gaza Strip, stating that she supported the opening of the crossings into the territory for humanitarian reasons and thanking Greece for its offer to route humanitarian aid to Gaza, in coordination with the UN.