A UN official has said that the UN and the other members of the Middle East Quartet are looking at the possibility of holding a high-level meeting to discuss ways to revive the direct negotiations between the Palestinians and the Israelis.
Assistant UN Secretary General for Political Affairs Oscar Fernandez-Taranco said "time is of the essence" when it comes to overcoming the current difficulties. "Intensive diplomatic efforts led by the United States and supported by all members of the Quartet are ongoing to create conditions conducive to the continuation of the [direct] negotiations," he said.
Mr. Fernandez-Taranco revealed that the Quartet's representative are communicating with all Quartet members in efforts to arrange such a meeting to discuss the peace process and ways to revive the negotiations, which were halted by the Palestinians after Israel resumed settlement building in the occupied West Bank.
According to the UN official, efforts to break the political deadlock between Israel and the Palestinian Authority were made more difficult by Israel's announcement of new settlement construction in East Jerusalem. Such construction is, he added, "contrary to international law and runs directly counter to the Quartet's efforts."