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Russia to jumpstart 'quartet' work on Israeli-Arab talks

RIA Novosti

05/04/2007 21:59 MOSCOW, April 5 (RIA Novosti) - Russia intends to jumpstart the stalled work of the Middle East 'Quartet' negotiators on the initiation of talks between Israel and the new government in the Palestinian Authority, a Russian deputy foreign minister said Thursday.

"We intend to hold active talks in the coming weeks with our partners in the [Middle East] region and in the Quartet in an attempt to create conditions for the start of a new Israeli-Arab dialogue," Alexander Saltanov said.

The Quartet includes Russia, the UN, the European Union and the United States.

A new coalition government was formed March 17 to help stop the violence in Palestine and support President Abbas's efforts aimed at achieving a resolution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Palestinian authorities said earlier they were determined to implement the Mecca agreements to stabilize the situation in the PNA and restore dialogue with Israel.

Palestine was on the brink of civil war as the country found itself torn between the Fatah movement, led by President Mahmoud Abbas, and the Islamist group Hamas, which won parliamentary elections in January 2006 and is regarded by the U.S. and Israel as a terrorist organization.

At a February 8 meeting in Mecca, Hamas and Fatah reached an agreement on the structure of a new power-sharing Cabinet. The agreement ended weeks of fighting between the opposing groups, in which over 90 people died on both sides.

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