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World

Middle East quartet calls for 'meaningful' Israel-Palestinian talks

  • Expansion of Jewish settlements in the West Bank, communities widely seen as illegal under international law, boomed under his tenure.
24 Mar 2021

JERUSALEM: 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 Jewish settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank.

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.

Expansion of Jewish settlements in the West Bank, communities widely seen as illegal under international law, boomed under his tenure.

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 to broaden its control of the West Bank.

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

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