Officials of the Quartet Committee for peace in the Middle East are set to meet on Friday with several officials of four Arab countries in Egypt in order to discuss the Arab league proposal which was presented five years ago, and renewed this year. The statement was revealed by the United States State department on Tuesday, Israeli online daily Haaretz reported.

Sean McCormack, the US State Department spokesperson, told reporters on Tuesday that Quartet members (the United States, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations) will meet with several Arab officials from Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Saudi Arabia.

Haaretz reported that the talks will be held at the Sham Al Sheikh Egyptian resort.

Haaretz said that the United States has been trying to promote the Arab Peace Initiative which calls for normalization with Israel if it withdraws from the occupied territories since 1967 including East Jerusalem.

McCormack also stated that the meeting would be useful since the US will directly hear the positions and plans of the Arab countries, so it can brief other states, including Israel.

The Arab countries presented their initiative in 2002 and called on full Israeli withdrawal from the occupied territories, finding a just solution to the issue of the refugees and accepting the creation of an independent Palestinian State in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip with East Jerusalem as the capital.

The Arab League stated that if Israel implements these conditions, Arab countries would consider the conflict with Israel over, and would enter a peace treaty with the Jewish state to establish normal relations.

During the March 2007 Arab League summit, which was held in the Saudi Capital, Riyadh, the Arab states renewed their initiative and called on Israel to accept it.

Earlier last month, the Arab league asked Jordan and Egypt, which both have peace treaties with Israel, to contact it and hold talks on the Arab peace plan.

The Arab League is a group of some 20 Arab countries; the United States expressed disappointment that “only Jordan and Egypt were asked to initiate talks with Israel”.

Meanwhile, McCormack stated that this initiative could be a starting point for further diplomacy in the region, and added that the US will observe and encourage “this positive upcoming meeting”.