Russia is offering to stage a ministerial meeting of the "Quartet" of Middle East peace negotiators in Moscow next month to discuss the stalled peace process, the Russian U.N. envoy said on Wednesday.
The Quartet consists of the United Nations, the European Union, the United States and Russia.
"Russia is proposing to organize in February in Moscow a meeting of the Quartet at ministerial level to consider prospects for overcoming the crisis in the Israeli-Palestinian dialogue," Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told the U.N. Security Council.
Palestine-Israel talks have been stalled since late 2008 when Israel launched a three-week attack on Gaza, killing 1,434 Palestinians and 13 Israelis died.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has insisted Israel completely stop settlement building in occupied Palestinian land before talks can resume, and has rejected a temporary construction freeze ordered by Israel in November as insufficient.
Russia has long been offering to host a full-scale Middle East peace conference. Churkin said the current lack of peace talks meant no date could yet be set for such a conference.
But he said the proposed Quartet meeting would be "an important step on the road to organizing the Moscow conference."
Churkin was speaking at a monthly Security Council meeting on the Middle East. In an introductory report, U.N. assistant secretary-general for political affairs Oscar Fernandez-Taranco lamented what he called the "extremely worrying impasse" in efforts to resume peace talks.
ReutersLast Mod: 28 Ocak 2010, 08:26