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Friday, May 2, 2008

Quartet Warns Israel That Settlement Growth Is Not Acceptable

Be sure to link to the article below "Israeli Settler Warning"where you can see the statement on video.

Also, from THIS article:

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, reading the statement after the Friday morning meeting, said the Quartet "expressed its deep concern" at Israel's continued settlement building on the West Bank and called for all outposts built since March 2001 to be dismantled.

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Arye Mekel said the Jewish state was not building new settlements and was only allowing "natural growth" in existing settlements.

"We have not changed our position on this," he said.

The written statement by the Quartet members read out by Ban explicitly states that "natural growth" of the settlements is unacceptable.

Israel settler warning

Updated 17.42 Fri May 02 2008

World powers have called on Israel to stop building settlements in Palestinian areas to save peace talks.

The Quartet of Middle East peace mediators, comprising the EU, Russia, the UN and the US, also urged Arab states to honour their financial and political pledges to help the Palestinians.

According to US figures, of £364 million in budget aid for the Palestinians promised by Arab League members, only £77.5 million has been delivered, all from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Algeria.

In a statement read by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, the Quartet voiced "deep concern" over humanitarian conditions in the disputed Gaza Strip.

Israel has tightened its blockade on the area after the Islamist Hamas movement seized power from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party last year.

The powers called for a shift in strategy toward Gaza and backed Egyptian efforts to broker a truce between Israel and Palestinian militants and ease the blockade.

Israel says the embargo is aimed at stopping rocket attacks on Israel by Hamas and other militant groups.

But shortages of fuel, power and basic goods have strangled Gaza's economy and created a humanitarian crisis for its 1.5 million people.

The calls came at a Middle East conference in London, where Tony Blair joined Foreign Secretary David Miliband and US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

The former prime minister, now an international envoy on the Middle East, said he thought a breakthrough was on the cards in the negotiations between the Palestinians and the Israelis.

Mr Miliband said the Quartet is set to make a new offer to Iran to end its controversial nuclear enrichment programme.


Now what?

Quartet Statement

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