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Middle East diplomacy: 'Quartet' to review peace options at Washington talks

Middle East diplomacy: 'Quartet' to review peace options at Washington talks

The United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, today said he was looking forward to his meeting tomorrow in Washington, D.C. with the other members of the diplomatic "quartet" - the European Union, the Russian Federation and the United States - to assess options for bringing peace to the Middle East.

"I hope we will all have a chance to review where we are, and where we go from here, and what steps have to be taken to press ahead with the peace issue," the Secretary-General told reporters this morning as he entered UN Headquarters in New York. "I hope in Washington all of us will have the chance to speak frankly and share ideas and decide what happens next."

Mr. Annan will travel to the US capital to attend the Quartet meeting at the invitation of the US Secretary of State, Colin Powell.

According to a UN spokesman, following the Quartet's afternoon meeting at the US State Department, there will be a press briefing by the four principal participants - Mr. Annan, Secretary Powell, High Representative for European Union Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana and Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov.

Also attending the meeting will be Foreign Minister Josep Pique of Spain, which holds the rotating presidency of the European Union, the spokesman said.