Moscow Accuses US of Blocking Mideast Quartet Efforts

MOSCOW, December 9 (RIA Novosti) – The United States is blocking a meeting of the Quartet of Middle East mediators, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Sunday.

“We are seeking the convocation of the Quartet of international mediators. We are supported by the European Union and the UN while the United States, the fourth participant in this mechanism, does not want this. We are talking about this publicly,” Lavrov said.

The last meeting of the Quartet, which comprises the United Nations, United States, European Union and Russia and aims to settle the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, took place in September 2011 at the UN headquarters

Russia also advocates convening an international conference on a nuclear-free area in the Middle East but this initiative is also being blocked by the United States, Lavrov said.

“It was decided to hold this conference by late 2012. We are bearing the brunt of work with the Arabs, Israel and Iran. As a result, we have prepared a package quite acceptable for all but the Americans refused to support it,” Lavrov said.

The Palestinian-Israeli talks stalled in September 2010 over disagreements on Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank. Palestinians said they would not resume negotiations unless the construction stopped.

The Palestinians are seeking to create an independent state on the territories of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, partially occupied by Israel, and the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip and want Israel to pull out from the Palestinian territories occupied after the 1967 war.

Israel, however, has refused to return to the 1967 borders and is unwilling to raise the issue of Jerusalem, which it says is the indivisible capital of the Jewish state.


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