NEW YORK, 1st October, 2015 (WAM) — The Middle East Quartet has agreed to consult with Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the Arab League Secretary-General as part of its regular and direct contact with key Arab partners in yet another bid to resolve the Palestinian issue.

KUNA, the Kuwaiti News Agency, has quoted a joint statement following a meeting on the sidelines of the 70th Session of the General Assembly, in which the group emphasised the importance of constructive international contributions to advancing a comprehensive peace, and confirmed that it will continue its reaching-out efforts.

The Quartet, the US, EU, Russia and the UN, meeting at ministerial level, noted with “deep concern” recent violence and escalating tensions surrounding the Holy sites in Jerusalem, and called upon all parties to exercise restraint, refrain from provocative actions and rhetoric, and preserve unchanged the status quo at the Holy sites in both word and practice.

Representatives of the Quartet were called for an emergency meeting by UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, and noted in their joint statement that the increasing threat of terrorism, sectarian extremism and radicalisation in the Middle East reinforces the need to pursue a negotiated two-state solution.

Russia, UN, US and the EU expressed serious concern at continued acts of violence against Palestinians and Israelis, ongoing settlement activity, and the high rate of demolitions of Palestinian structures, “are dangerously imperiling the viability of a two-state solution.”

They also expressed strong support for concrete and significant steps that will help stabilise the situation, reverse current trends by showing meaningful progress towards creating a two-state reality on the ground, and restore hope among Palestinians and Israelis that a negotiated peace is possible.

It stressed that the Palestinian commitment to building institutions, improving governance, and strongly opposing incitement and violence in all forms “remains critically important to laying the groundwork for a viable independent Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with Israel.

The Quartet urged an immediate focus on accelerating efforts to address the dire situation in Gaza, emphasised the importance of increased access through legal crossings, and called on all international partners to expedite the disbursement of their pledges made at the Cairo Conference in October, 2014.

In their statement, the Quartet promised to stand ready to support initiatives to advance these objectives in order to achieve a comprehensive two-state solution, noted significance and importance of the Arab Peace Initiative with its vision for a comprehensive settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict and the opportunity for building a regional security framework.