Russian envoy calls for Mideast Quartet ministerial meeting

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MOSCOW, January 15. /TASS/. Special Representative of the Russian Foreign Minister on the Middle East Peace Process Vladimir Safronkov held a video conference with his Mideast Quartet (Russia, the United States, the UN and the European Union) counterparts to discuss the need to raise the Quartet’s work to the ministerial level, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said on Saturday.

The Russian side prioritized the Quartet’s efforts aimed at resuming the Palestinian-Israeli political dialogue, the ministry said in a statement.

"The contacts held between the Palestinians and the Israelis on the issues of security and financial interaction cannot, with all their importance, resolve the profound contradictions in the conflict area," the statement says.

"In the current circumstances, the Quartet’s activity should be raised to the ministerial level within the shortest time possible, which would make it possible to agree on further collective steps aimed at assisting the process of implementing the formula of the ‘two states’ - Palestine and Israel co-existing in peace and security," the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

During the talks, the diplomats expressed "the growing common concern" over the complex humanitarian situation on the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip. They also stressed the need to take urgent measures to improve social and economic conditions on the Palestinian territories, the statement says.

Russia was represented at the consultations by Special Representative of the Russian Foreign Minister on the Middle East Peace Process Vladimir Safronkov while the UN was represented by Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland, the United States by Deputy Assistant Secretary Hady Amr and the EU by Special Representative for the Middle East Peace Process Sven Koopmans.

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