US, UN, Russia & EU oppose unilateral action prejudicial to agreement; peace the fundamental interest of all parties.
By ASSOCIATED PRESS
The United States, United Nations, Russia and European Union condemned Israel on Friday for approving 1,600 new homes in east Jerusalem, which the Palestinians want as their future capital.A statement from the so-called Quartet of Mideast peacemakers reaffirmed that unilateral action by the Israelis or Palestinians "cannot prejudge the outcome of (peace) negotiations and will not be recognized by the international community.""The Quartet will take full stock of the situation at its meeting in Moscow on March 19," the statement said."The Quartet condemns Israel's decision to advance planning for new housing units in east Jerusalem," the statement said. "The Quartet has agreed to closely monitor developments in Jerusalem and to keep under consideration additional steps that may be required to address the situation on the ground."Israel's announcement this week of more east Jerusalem constructionangered visiting U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden and the Palestinians.Only days earlier, the Palestinians agreed to begin indirect peacetalks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government, despitetheir demand for a full settlement freeze before talks begin havingbeen only partly met. Netanyahu has agreed only to a 10-monthmoratorium on housing starts in the territories that does not includeeast Jerusalem, which Israel sees as part of its capital.TheQuartet called "on all concerned to support the urgent resumption ofdialogue between the parties and to promote an atmosphere that isconducive to successful negotiations to resolve all outstanding issuesof the conflict."The group reiterated that Arab-Israeli peace"and the establishment of an independent, contiguous and viable stateof Palestine is in the fundamental interests of the parties, of allstates in the region, and of the international community."
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