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Latest Quartet Statement - Words vs. Action

The Quartet Principles - Secretary Rice, UNSG Ban Ki-Moon, the EU's Solana, Steinmeier, and Ferrero-Waldner, and Russian FMThe Quartet Lavrov - met today in Berlin.  I've been accused of overindulging in Quartet textual analysis in the past, so I'll resist the temptation this time, and just point to a few noteworthy snippets.

Quartet connoisseurs can read the full statement here.  The Quartet's latest position is one of its most comprehensive to date, which, on the one hand, means that it has a bit of everything; but on the other, it means that there's actually some useful stuff in there.  The predictable (and necessary) condemnations of violence and calls for a ceasefire, and endorsements of President Abbas are all there.  Less expected may be the call to release the arrested Palestinian government and Parliament members, and for Israel to resume the transfer of Palestinian tax and customs revenues.  There is also a major focus on the Arab peace initiative, recently relaunched at the Riyadh Summit, as a vehicle for moving forward a regional peace process.  The statement ends with a tantalizing hint that the Quartet might actually do something.

Looking ahead, the Quartet discussed a calendar for the coming months to support and encourage progress on the bilateral and regional tracks. The Quartet principals agreed to meet in the region in June with the Israelis and Palestinians to review progress and discuss the way forward. The Quartet also agreed to meet in the region with members of the Arab League to follow up on the Arab Peace Initiative and efforts to advance the regional track.

The problem, as ever, will be in the follow-up.  The Quartet has still failed to actually develop a mechanism for moving an agenda with the parties.  Three of the Quartet members have an envoy.  The US does not.  But this structural gap can always be plugged, the more important missing ingredient is the lack of political will and of a political plan.


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Comments (2)

worldly mother:

Wishing you infinite success with your new website!

But I must say I'm not as optimistic with this Quartet as you are.

They remind me too much of similar but empty words used during that monstrous 34 day Israeli/Lebanon war last summer.
What good were they then?

Rice has become nothing more than a master of diversionary tactics, using time and/or the slow drip of blood to solve problems never addressed or made worse by her master's reign.

Until the United States has a new Secretary of State pursuing mandates of a more Progressive Administration run by thoughtful, intelligent and forward thinking adults we'll make no progress.

They'll continue to spew empty words and offer cluster bombs instead of olive branches.

Thank you for this insightful analysis, Daniel. The lack of political will on the part of world powers to find pursue solutions is very distressing to me.

Art Blecher

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