The United Nations and its diplomatic partners in the search for Middle East peace today called on Israel and the Palestinians to resume direct talks without delay or preconditions, following separate meetings with officials from both sides in Jerusalem.
Today’s discussions are a follow-up to similar meetings held last month, at which both sides agreed to come forward with comprehensive proposals on territory and security within three months.
The series of meetings are part of a strategy launched in September by the so-called Quartet – comprising the UN, the European Union, Russia and the United States – to bring the two sides together again following the breakdown in bilateral talks last year.
The Quartet envoys “continued to encourage the parties to resume direct bilateral negotiations without delay or preconditions,” according to information released by the UN.
They also discussed with the parties their development of proposals on territory and security, called on them to create a conducive environment for restarting talks and urged them to refrain from provocative actions. The envoys intend to have a follow-up meeting in December.
Peace talks have been stalled since late September 2010 following Israel’s refusal to extend a 10-month freeze on settlement activity in the occupied Palestinian territory.
That decision prompted Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to withdraw from direct talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which had only resumed a few weeks earlier after a two-year hiatus.