The Quartet Committee for Middle East peace (United Nations, United States, European Union, Russia) conditionally welcomed a Palestinian national unity government, insisting that any government should renounce violence, recognize Israel and abide by past signed peace agreements including the Road Map.
Following multilateral phone calls of the Quartet members’ officials including the US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergy Lavirov, the UN Secretary General, Pan Ki-Monn, the EU Foreign Policy Chief, Jafeir Solana and German Foreign Minister, Frank Falter, the Quartet released a statement, reiterating the said three demands.

The Quartet is scheduled to meet in February21, a couple of days after a trilateral summit involving Rice, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert.

Riyad Mansour, Palestine’s Permanent Observer at the United Nations, responded to the Quartet’s demands by saying “ political stances can not change overnight; there should be some patience that gives a chance for this change to take place”.

Rival Palestinian factions’ agreement on a unity government in the Saudi Arabian city of Makkah last Thursday did not include a clear-cut indication to recognition of Israel and respect of signed peace deals.

In a letter of assignment to his Prime Minister Ismail Haniya of Hamas, President Abbass emphasized the need that Haniya’s cabinet should respect agreements signed by former Palestinian governments, while Hamas continues to reject such deals.