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Quartet Concerned over Mideast Peace Process Stalemate
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The Quartet, or the United Nations, the United States, the European Union and Russia, said on Wednesday that it is concerned about the continued stalemate between Israel and Palestine and expressed support for the efforts by Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas to form a national unity government.

"The Quartet stressed the urgent need to make progress towards a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the Middle East. The Quartet expressed its concern at the grave crisis in Gaza and the continued stalemate between Israel and the Palestinians," the Quartet said in a statement following a meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

The Quartet welcomes effort by Abbas to form a national unity government in the hope that such a government would reflect Quartet principle and allow for early engagement between the two sides, the statement said.

The Quartet reaffirmed its commitment to the "roadmap" as the means to realize the goal of two democratic states - Israel and Palestine - living side by side in peace and security, the statement said, adding that it welcomes a meeting by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in the near future.

The statement also called for greater donor support to meet the needs of the Palestinian people.

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, European Union High Representative Javier Solana and other officials attended the meeting.

The United States has refused to deal with the Palestinian government headed by the militant Hamas. Abbas has said that he hopes to establish a unity government with Hamas being part of it.

(Xinhua News Agency September 21, 2006)

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