Middle East Quartet makes no progress at Washington talks

13:58, July 12, 2011      

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The Middle East Quartet on Monday failed to achieve any progress on resuming the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace talks at a meeting in Washington.

No joint statement was issued after representatives from European Union, Russia, the United Nations and the United States, met for more than two hours.

The meeting was convened with an aim to reach a consensus on reviving the peace talks before the Palestinians go to the UN in September to seek a vote on their statehood. The outcome was disappointing but demonstrated how difficult and frustrating it is to bring the Israelis and Palestinians back to the negotiating table.

"There are still gaps that are impeding progress," a senior Obama administration official told reporters after the meeting.

"We need to do more work, privately, quietly, with the parties, in order to see if we can't close these gaps," said the official.

The Obama administration has made reviving Middle East peace process one of its top diplomatic priorities since it took office in January 2009.

Brokered by Washington, the Israelis and Palsetinians resumed direct talks last September in Washington. But only after two brief rounds, the talks collapsed, as Israel refused to extend the moratorium on West Bank settlement construction.

On May 19, U.S. President Barack Obama said in a major speech on Middle East policy that the peace talks should be based on the 1967 boarders and mutually agreed land swaps. But it was rejected by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who insisted that the 1967 boarders are "indefensible."

Source: Xinhua
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