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Mideast Quartet urges ‘meaningful’ dialogue to reach two-state solution

Convening online, envoys from US, Russia, EU and UN express concern over potential ‘unilateral actions,’ in apparent reference to Israeli settlement expansion

View of the Israeli settlement of Ariel, in the West Bank on July 2, 2020. (Sraya Diamant/Flash90)
View of the Israeli settlement of Ariel, in the West Bank on July 2, 2020. (Sraya Diamant/Flash90)

The four members of the so-called Middle East quartet discussed the resumption of “meaningful negotiations” to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in their first meeting since US President Joe Biden took office.

The body, which comprises the US, Russia, the EU and the UN, met virtually on Tuesday, a UN statement said.

“The Envoys… met virtually to discuss returning to meaningful negotiations that will lead to a two-state solution, including tangible steps to advance freedom, security, and prosperity for Palestinians and Israelis, which is important in its own right,” it said.

They discussed “the need for the parties to refrain from unilateral actions that make a two-state solution more difficult to achieve,” in an apparent reference to settlement expansion in the West Bank.

View of a Bedouin village (front) and the Palestinian village of az-Za’ayyem (back) near Ma’ale Adumim, in the West Bank, January 26, 2021. (Yaniv Nadav/Flash90)

The meeting came as Israel was holding its fourth election in less than two years, with right-wing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seeking to extend his record 12 consecutive years in power.

The quartet fell largely dormant during the administration of former president Donald Trump, seen by Palestinians as biased towards Israel.

The former president remained quiet as Israel announced new projects in the West Bank.

Biden has indicated his administration will restore traditional bipartisan US criticism of settlement expansion.

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