UN chief hopes for Middle East Quartet meeting soon

Antonio Guterres says US administration under Joe Biden has shown willingness to revive Palestinian-Israeli peace process

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres conducts hybrid amid pandemic press conference addressing United Nations priorities for 2021 at UN Headquarters in New York on January 28, 2021. SG addressed COVID-19 pandemic and how world should eradicate disease, financial problems in many parts of the world and climate change as main topics for this year agenda. (Photo by Lev Radin/Sipa USA)No Use Germany.
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UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres hopes to see the Middle East Quartet of mediators meet again in the "next few weeks" now that there is a new US president in the White House.

The Quartet, comprising the US, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations, does not appear to have had a meeting since September 2018.

"The truth is that we were completely blocked in relation to any form of peace negotiation. We had the Israelis and the Palestinians that wouldn't talk to each other," Mr Guterres said in an interview broadcast by The Washington Post on Wednesday.

The new administration of President Joe Biden supports a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians and will overturn several decisions made under his predecessor, Donald Trump, the acting US envoy to the United Nations told the Security Council last week.

US announces it will restore humanitarian aid to Palestine

US announces it will restore humanitarian aid to Palestine

"There is a strong will of the new US administration to play a positive role in creating these conditions for a true peace process to restart," Mr Guterres said.

"I believe that now it will be possible to have a meeting of the Quartet," he said. "I would like to see it in the next few weeks."

The Palestinians want a state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip with East Jerusalem as its capital, all territory captured by Israel in 1967. Under a failed peace proposal by Mr Trump, Washington would have recognised Jewish settlements in occupied territory as part of Israel.