The members of the diplomatic Quartet, meeting today at United Nations Headquarters in New York, pledged support for the Road Map outline peace plan despite the lack of “significant progress” achieved so far.
In a statement released after their meeting, the representatives of the UN, European Union, Russian Federation and United States called on Israel and the Palestinians to do more to bring peace to the region, including living up to obligations outlined in the plan.
“The situation on the ground for both Palestinians and Israelis remains extremely difficult and no significant progress has been achieved on the Road Map,” the group said in a joint statement, referring to a plan that calls for a series of parallel and reciprocal steps by both sides, leading to two States living in peace and security by 2005.
“The Quartet notes with deep concern that genuine action is still needed so that an empowered Prime Minister and cabinet can fulfil the Palestinian Authority’s obligations under the Road Map, including an unequivocal end to violence and terrorism, and the dismantlement of terrorist capabilities and infrastructure,” its statement said.
The group also urged the Government of Israel to implement its obligations, including dismantling of settlement outposts erected since March 2001, and to impose a settlement freeze, as called for by US President Bush and in the Road Map. “The lack of action in this regard is a cause for concern,” it said, calling also for Israeli action to ease the humanitarian and economic plight of the Palestinian people.
As it did in May, the Quartet reaffirmed its concerns on the actual routing of the Israeli separation barrier. It urged positive action by the Government of Israel with respect to the barrier’s route and reiterated its view that no party should undertake unilateral actions that could prejudge issues which can only be resolved through negotiations and agreement between the parties.
The Quartet also reaffirmed its encouragement for Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s intention to withdraw from all Gaza settlements and parts of the West Bank and reiterated that withdrawal from Gaza should be full, complete and undertaken in a manner consistent with the Road Map.