'Quartet' on West Asia to meet in Jordan, next week

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Moscow, Apr 8 (UNI) Russian Foreign Ministry today said the 'Quartet' on West Asia, which include Russia, US, EU and UN, will hold talks in Jordanian capital, Amman on April 17.

''The Quartet will discuss plans for future action, including the organisation of an international meeting on West Asia and an upcoming ministerial meeting of the Quartet,'' Russian Foreign Ministry's representative Sergei Yakolev said in a statement.

The ministerial meeting will be held in the run up to West Asia peace talks in Moscow, for which a date has yet to be fixed, Mr Yakovlev said.

''The agenda for the Moscow meeting will be discussed by the Quartet and with representatives of regional powers, and when our partners are ready to adopt it we will announce the assembly of the conference,'' he said, pointing out that the Amman meeting would be an ''informal discussion.'' Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is to step down early May, first voiced the idea of holding a peace conference on West Asia in Moscow in 2005.

The proposal for a Moscow West Asia peace conference was supported by a number of Arab countries prior to talks in the US state of Maryland last year.

The US-sponsored meeting saw Israel and the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) resume peace talks after a gap of seven years.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met in Jerusalem yesterday to discuss the peace process in their first meeting since a devastating Israeli raid on the Gaza Strip that killed some 120 Palestinians, including many civilians, in February.

Israel said the attack was in response to rocket attacks on Israeli border towns from Gaza. Abbas halted peace talks with Israel after the assault.

However, after his meeting with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in Jordan on March 30-31, Abbas announced that he would resume talks with Israel.

UNI XC SLD HT1910

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