Mideast Quartet to discuss approach to new PA gov't

EU foreign policy spokeswoman: EU wants to promote a "pro-active wait-and-see attitude."

quartet 298.88 (photo credit: AP)
quartet 298.88
(photo credit: AP)
The Quartet of Middle East peacemakers will discuss its approach to the new Palestinian unity government between Fatah and Hamas on Monday, European Union officials said. Senior officials from the US, the EU, the UN and Russia will hold a conference call Monday. It will be the first joint consultations among Quartet members since the formation of a Palestinian unity government was completed on Thursday and the legislature approved it on Saturday. The conference call will involve US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, as well as senior EU officials and German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, said an official who asked not to be named. Cristina Gallach, a spokeswoman for EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana, who will be meeting Rice in Washington later Monday, declined to comment on the conference call. She said the EU wanted to promote a "pro-active wait-and-see attitude" toward the new government, despite its failure to explicitly recognize Israel and renounce violence. Quartet members have withheld crucial direct financial aid to the Palestinian government since Hamas came to power in elections a year ago. The Palestinians are hoping a coalition government with more moderate members of the Fatah party will end their isolation. "What has happened with the new coalition is positive," Gallach said. "The EU believes it should maintain the provisional aid mechanism, while establishing contact with non-Hamas members of the government we have already worked with, and watching and analyzing its acts and deeds."