Mideast Quartet Urges Israel To Halt Settlements

By: AP
By: AP

TRIESTE, Italy – The Quartet of Mideast negotiators has called on Israel to freeze all settlement activity and to lift its blockade on the Gaza Strip.

The Quartet — the United States, Russia, United Nations and European Union — met Friday on the sidelines of a meeting of the Group of Eight foreign ministers, who made a similar call for Mideast peace.

Israel has rejected demands that it halt all settlement building, saying it must accommodate "natural growth" in the Israeli enclaves. However the Quartet urged Israel to freeze all settlement activity, including natural growth and to dismantle outposts erected since March 2001.

The U.N. chief says there is a "historic" opportunity for Mideast peace with the Obama administration in power.

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