November 27th, 2007 07:45 EST
Quartet voices support for Middle East conference in Annapolis
The diplomatic Quartet on the Middle East, made up of the United Nations, European Union, Russian Federation and United States, has voiced its full support for a conference on the region being held today in the US city of Annapolis.
In a statement issued Monday evening in Washington, the Quartet “welcomed the commitment of the Israeli and Palestinians leaders to launch bilateral negotiations toward the establishment of a Palestinian State in the West Bank and Gaza and the realization of Israeli-Palestinian peace.
“This reflects the results of months of work by the parties and by the Quartet, including the Quartet's engagement with members of the Arab League Follow-Up Committee to expand the circle of support for peace.”
The statement was issued following a meeting of the Quartet Principals: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, High Representative for European Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana, Portuguese Foreign Minister Luis Amado, and European Commissioner for External Relations Benita Ferrero-Waldner, along with Quartet Representative Tony Blair.
The Quartet welcomed the parties' continuing efforts to fulfill their respective commitments under Phase One of the Roadmap, an outline peace plan, and urged the international community to provide robust support for these efforts.
Principals took note of the broad international support for the Annapolis Conference, and looked forward to the December Paris Donors' Conference to muster international financial backing for efforts to build the foundation for a “viable and prosperous” Palestinian State.
The Quartet agreed to remain closely involved, according to the statement, which anticipated another meeting next month while looking forward “to inviting members of the Arab League Follow-Up Committee to attend.”
The statement also affirmed the Quartet's “commitment to seize this opportunity to mobilize international support to achieve meaningful progress towards a just and lasting negotiated settlement to this conflict, and ultimately a comprehensive peace in the Middle East.”