Quartet to convene to renew Mideast peace efforts

Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Monday the four key players promoting Middle East peace efforts - the United Nations, the United States, the European Union and Russia - will meet in New York on May 9 to discuss prospects for settling the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Annan told reporters the Quartet will discuss the situation on the ground and "look into the future" on how to deal with the stalled roadmap to Middle East peace, which it drafted, "and how we move the efforts forward." The Quartet has repeatedly urged the Israelis and Palestinians to return to the roadmap outlining a series of steps to lead to two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace. But the new Hamas-led Palestinian government's rejection of the Quartet's demand to recognize Israel, accept past Israeli-Palestinian peace agreements and renounce violence has complicated an already difficult process.