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Palestinians disappointed by Middle East Quartet's settlement stance

RIA Novosti

17:52 06/02/2011

GAZA, February 6 (RIA Novosti) - Palestinians on Sunday said they were disappointed that the Middle East Quartet refused to heed their call for unilateral statehood and failed to take a strong stance on Israel's settlement construction, when it met on February 5 in Germany.

The quartet - the UN, the U.S., the EU and Russia - met on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference amid ongoing pro-democracy protests in Egypt and discussed the current impasse facing the Palestinian-Israeli search for peace.

Direct talks between the Israelis and Palestinians, which resumed last September after a 20-month standoff, collapsed in December after Israel refused to stop construction in the occupied West Bank. On Saturday European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton announced that the next Quartet's meeting would be held in mid-March.

"[The] continuation of the crisis in the Middle East is linked to the ongoing Israeli occupation of the Palestinian and Arab land," spokesman for the Palestinian Authority Nabil Abu Rudeineh emphasized.

"We expected the Quartet, in such exceptional circumstances in the region, to live up to the event by asking Israel to stop all settlement activity, including in al-Quds (Jerusalem) and to recognize the 1967 borders as borders of a Palestinian state with its capital in East al-Quds," chief negotiator for the Palestinian Administration Saeb Erekat said.

Palestinians hoped the Quartet would issue "historic decisions in light of the danger facing the region because of Israeli occupation and policies," Erekat said. The West should stop "dealing with Israel as a state above the law," he added.

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