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Security Council backs 'Quartet' position on Middle East, urges support for peace efforts

Security Council backs 'Quartet' position on Middle East, urges support for peace efforts

The members of the Security Council today urged wide support for diplomatic initiatives to bring peace to the Middle East being led by the Quartet, which is comprised of the United Nations, European Union, Russian Federation and United States.

In a statement to the press following closed-door consultations on the latest developments in the Middle East, the President of the Council, Ambassador Stefan Tafrov of Bulgaria, said the members supported the statement issued by the Quartet earlier this week outlining a roadmap and timetable to settle the region's conflict.

Council members called on the Government of Israel, the Palestinian Authority and States in the region to cooperate with peace efforts, the President said. They also stressed the importance of achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East based on all relevant Security Council resolutions, the Madrid terms of reference, and the principle of land for peace.

[The Council went into closed consultations on the situation in the Middle East at 6 p.m., announcing afterwards that it will hold a formal meeting on that subject on Monday morning.]

Earlier Friday, Terje Roed-Larsen, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, briefed the Council in a formal session before taking part in their closed deliberations. Speaking to reporters, he stressed the gravity of the humanitarian situation, and said a new UN mission would be dispatched to the region to create "a concrete plan on how we can improve living conditions." The plan would then be presented to donors and key non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

The envoy added that the humanitarian crisis could not be resolved with relief aid alone. "It is only a broad, political solution which can change the fundamentals here," he said. The Quartet's outlined roadmap provided the key means to achieve this, he added, noting that meetings would be held shortly to pursue the work ahead.