EU hopes for Israel-Quartet meeting by summer

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, which is made up of 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 Authority national unity government, while Hamas has declared it is unwilling to commit itself to demands that it renounces violence, recognizes Israel's right to exist, and adheres to previous international agreements.