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UNIETD NATIONS, March 12 (Itar-Tass) —— The Middle East Quartet of international mediators confirmed its position in support of agreement between Israel and Palestine before the end of this year.
The Middle East Quartet (United Nations, Russian Federation, United States, European Union) and Quartet Representative Blair held informal consultations on Monday, March 12, to assess developments since its statement of 23 September 2011.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attended the consultations. Catherine Ashton, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Quartet Special Representative Tony Blair joined them by videoconference.
“Quartet Principals remain committed to the overall objectives of the statement. In this regard, they welcome the important effort led by Jordan, which began in early January, as part of the shared commitment to reach a negotiated agreement by the end of this year,” the Quartet said.
The Quartet also discussed the grave situation in Gaza and southern Israel, expressed serious concern for the recent escalation and called for calm.
The Quartet reiterated its call on the parties to remain engaged and to refrain from provocative actions.
The Quartet decided to meet in Washington in April.
According to Russian permanent representative to the U.N. Vitaly Churkin, "The two sides should refrain from unilateral steps anticipating the results of settlement, comply with international obligations, show political will and readiness for confidence-building measures and sustainable dialogue that would facilitate effective resolution of all issues related to the final status."