A meeting of the Quartet of international mediators in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks will be held in Moscow on March 19, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday.
"We can announce that we have agreed with all the participants of the Quartet to hold a ministerial meeting in Moscow on March 19," Lavrov said.
Talks between Israel and the Palestinian National Authority came to a halt in December 2008, when Israel launched an attack on the Gaza Strip in a bid to put an end to the firing of homemade rockets at southern Israel by Palestinian militants based in the enclave. The conflict left 1,300 Palestinians and 13 Israelis dead.
Settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, both occupied by Israel since the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, has been the main obstacle to reviving peace talks.
Under the internationally agreed roadmap for Middle East peace, Israel is obliged to freeze all settlement construction activity, and remove unauthorized outposts built since 2001 from the Palestinian territories.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced, however, in late November 2009 that settlement construction would be limited in the occupied West Bank, but not in East Jerusalem. He also said construction would resume in the future. The Palestinians have so far refused to return to negotiations until the construction is completely halted.
Russia, along with the UN, the United States and European Union, comprises part of the Middle East Quartet of intermediaries for peace efforts.
MOSCOW, February 24 (RIA Novosti)