International mediators discuss Middle East

The Middle East Quartet of negotiators calls on all countries in the region to help establish peace between Israel and the Palestinians. They say Hamas should take part in negotiations as well.

The Quartet of Middle East peace negotiators have called for renewed efforts to restart the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians. Russia's Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, joined representatives from the UN, the U.S. and the European Union for talks in Washington.

The UN's Secretary General said violence in the region must stop immediately.

“The quartet repeated its call for immediate and unconditional end to all acts of violence and terror. It condemned the suicide bombing in Iraq on January 29 and called once again for immediate end to all rocket attacks on Israel,” he said.

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov called on Hamas to fulfill its duties to the Palestinian people because they have given Hamas their full support. Lavrov also said Syria could play a constructive role in helping to establish peace.

“We believe that it is counter-productive to isolate anybody and that involving all those who can influence the situation is extremely necessary, provided that this contribution would be positive,” said Mr Lavrov.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice sad that the Palestinian-Israeli issue is first and foremost between Palestinians and Israelis.

“If there is a common view that everyone will do everything they can to bring about an end to conflict between Palestine and Israel then there is no need for mediation. There is need for support for positive outcome,” she announced.

Meanwhile, German Foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who spoke on behalf of the European Union, said he welcomed the quartet's sustained commitment to the region.