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PLO, Egypt blast Quartet statement

Feb. 8, 2011 9:53 A.M. (Updated: Feb. 9, 2011 11:36 A.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- PLO official Yasser Abed Rabbo told Kuwait news agency KUNA Monday that the latest Quartet statement on the peace process was "regretful" and fell short of the Palestinians' expectations.

The statement, which focused on getting sides back to the negotiating table as an "imperative" for regional stability, did not mention Israel's failure to stop settlement construction on Palestinian lands, an issue PLO negotiators say remains the stumbling block to a return to talks.

In their statement, the Quartet urged sides "to undertake urgently efforts to expedite Israeli-Palestinian and comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace, which is imperative to avoiding outcomes detrimental to the region."

Abed Rabbo told KUNA that he blamed Quartet Envoy and former British premier Tony Blair for the weak statement.

Also on Monday, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry echoed Abed Rabbo's statements, issuing a paper calling the Quartet statement "disappointing and less than expected for both Palestinians and Arabs."

Egyptian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hossam Zaki said the statement focused on general rather than the core issues, and criticized it because it "neither touched upon the core issues nor included recognition of a Palestinian state on the land occupied in 1967 war and East Jerusalem as its capital as it was expected."
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