Posts Tagged ‘the Quartet’

Quartet urges settlement freeze

June 27, 2009
Al Jazeera,   June 27, 2009

Ban called on Israel to stop expanding settlements, including those increasing from ‘natural growth’ [AFP]

The international Quartet on Middle East peace has called on Israel to halt Jewish settlements in the Palestinian territories and open border crossings as a first step to advance peace.

The Quartet, comprised of the European Union, Russia, the United States and the United Nations, made the appeal on Friday in the northeastern Italian city of Trieste.

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Aid groups: Tony Blair faces imminent failure in Middle East

September 25, 2008

Tony Blair

(Justin Lane)

The Middle East Quartet, of which Tony Blair has been the representative for the past year, is accused of “losing its grip” on the peace process

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International efforts to advance the Middle East peace process are facing imminent failure under Tony Blair’s leadership, aid groups operating in the region say in a report released today.The report says that the international community Mr Blair represents suffers from a “vacuum of leadership” and has failed to curb the expansion of Jewish settlements in the West Bank or tackle the worsening living conditions of Palestinians, despite pledges made at a US peace summit almost a year ago.In a damning report, the Middle East Quartet, of which Mr Blair has been the representative for the past year, is accused of “losing its grip” on the peace process. Aid officials also said that its failings could have serious ramifications for implementing international law around the globe.

The Quartet — the United States, European Union, United Nations and Russia — has “fundamentally failed to improve the situation on the ground,” David Mepham, the director of policy for Save the Children UK, said. “Unless the Quartet’s words are matched by more sustained pressure and decisive action, the situation will deteriorate still further.

“Time is fast running out. The Quartet needs to radically revise its existing approach and show the people of the region that it can help make a difference.”

The report, released as the Quartet meets in New York to review progress, said that despite repeated calls from the international community to halt the expansion of Jewish settlements in the West Bank — considered illegal under international law and seen as a major obstacle to any peace agreement — there has been a “marked acceleration in construction, and no serious attempts by the Israeli authorities to dismantle outposts”.

The role of Mr Blair and the Quartet were limited by President Bush, who gave his British ally the task of reviving the Palestinian economy to make it ready for future statehood, leaving the political process in the hands of Condoleezza Rice, the US Secretary of State.

Mr Bush promised a deal by the end of this year. Most politicians in the region see that as unlikely.

“We are facing a vacuum in leadership,” said Martha Myers, CARE International’s director for the Palestinian territories. “The Quartet has been unable to hold parties to their obligations. The Quartet’s credibility is on the line and we hope it will use this meeting to show it is able to make a real difference to the lives of Palestinians and Israelis.”

While it credits Mr Blair with securing donor funding and encouraging private investment in the Palestinian territories, the report noted that his project unveiled last May to focus on rejuvenating the economy in specific areas such as Jenin and Jericho had made only a localised impact.

A spokesman for Mr Blair denied that he was stretching himself too thinly with his other projects. These include tackling climate change, poverty in Africa, a Faith Foundation to bridge the gaps between world religions, lectures at Yale University and lucrative posts as an adviser to JP Morgan and Zurich Financial Services.

Peace barriers

Settlements The peace “Road map” called for the dismantling of Jewish settlements built since 2001 and freezing all settlement growth

Palestinian security “Road map” called for a rebuilt Palestinian Authority security apparatus to confront terrorism. An EU-trained police force has been introduced in the West Bank but Palestinians are still afraid for their security

Source: US State Department, Middle East Quartet

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