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Middle East: UN envoy holds talks with Israeli, Palestinian leaders

22 August 2007 The United Nations Middle East envoy is in Jerusalem today for talks with Israeli and Palestinian political leaders on the need for dialogue between the two sides and to help prepare for a future meeting of the Quartet, the international diplomatic grouping trying to resolve the conflict.

Michael Williams, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, met Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad today, a day after holding discussions with Israeli Vice Premier Haim Ramon.

Tomorrow he is scheduled to meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, UN spokesperson Michele Montas told reporters.

The Quartet ? comprising the UN, the European Union, Russia and the United States ? agreed at a summit in Lisbon, Portugal, last month to meet again in September as part of efforts to “provide diplomatic support for the parties in their bilateral discussions and negotiations in order to move forward on a successful path to a Palestinian State.”

Ms. Montas said Mr. Williams had also held talks during this trip to the region with officials from the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and the country's Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the implementation of Security Council resolution 1701, which ended last year's war between the IDF and Hizbollah in neighbouring Lebanon.

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