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Middle East

Russia says Quartet 'insufficient' to solve Mideast crisis

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attends talks with his counterpart from Georgia's breakaway region of South Ossetia, on October 9, 2012. AFP PHOTO / NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA

MOSCOW: Russia on Friday said the Middle East Quartet is an "insufficient" format for long-term resolution of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, calling on the body to work together with the Arab League.

The Quartet seeking peace in the Middle East is made up of the European Union, Russia, the United Nations and the United States. It has had little success in its efforts to renew direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov however indicated that the format of the Quartet needed to be changed, advising it to work together with Arab nations.

"We have said at the Quartet's meetings that this format is insufficient for effectively looking into today's problems and working out viable proposals and agreements," Lavrov told reporters.

"The Quartet needs... to work together with the Arab League representatives and work out solutions together... to restart Israeli-Palestinian talks," he said.

Lavrov was speaking as a shaky truce held after eight days of bloodshed between Israel and Palestinian militant group Hamas which controls the Gaza Strip.

Arab nations in the Middle East have accused the Quartet of pro-Israel bias in the past while its envoy, former British prime minister Tony Blair, has faced accusations of failing to engage fully with the search for peace.

In September, rights and development groups working in the region called on the Quartet to press Israel to end "violations" such as demolition of Palestinian homes in the West Bank.

 

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