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Negotiators Issue Mideast Peace Statement

United Press International (UPI)


TRIESTE, Italy, June 26 (UPI) -- The group negotiating peace in the Middle East, meeting in Italy, reaffirmed its desire to see the Arab-Israeli conflict resolved with a two-state agreement.

The Middle East Quartet -- representatives of the United Nations, the European Union, Russia and the United States -- met in Trieste Friday during the Group of Eight ministers meeting.

The diplomats said the solution should be based on several U.N. Security Council resolutions, principles developed during a meeting in Madrid, plus the so-called road map developed during a summit in Annapolis, Md.

The group's members said they welcomed commitments of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to the two-state solution.

The Quartet also cited the need for peace agreements between Israel and Syria and Israel and Lebanon, and the full normalization of relations between all states based on the Arab Peace Initiative.

The Quartet called on Israel and the Palestinians to implement commitments they agreed to under the road map, affirmed that unilateral actions taken would not be recognized by the international community.

Israel was urged to freeze all settlement activity and dismantle outposts constructed since March 2001, as well as refrain from provocative actions in East Jerusalem.

Meanwhile, the panel called on the Palestinian Authority to push forward with improving law and order, and to fight violent extremism. The quartet called on Palestinians to commit to non-violence and the recognition of Israel.

The situation in Gaza wasn't sustainable and didn't move forward interests of any concerned, the statement said. It called for the unimpeded provision and distribution throughout Gaza of humanitarian assistance, including food, fuel, and medical treatment.

Click here for the full Quartet statement.