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    UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will arrive in Moscow on March 17, two days ahead of the Mideast Quartet's meeting, a Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Thursday.

    UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will arrive in Moscow on March 17, two days ahead of the Mideast Quartet's meeting, a Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Thursday.

    "UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will be in Russia March 17-19, where he will take part in the ministerial meeting of the quartet of intermediaries for the Middle East peace efforts," Andrei Nesterenko said, adding that it would be Ban's third visit to Moscow.

    The meeting of the Quartet of international mediators in the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, which is made up of Russia, the UN, the United States and European Union, will be held in Moscow on March 19.

    During his visit, Ban Ki-moon will also have a sideline meeting with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in which they will discuss Middle East peace efforts, the situation in Afghanistan, Iran's controversial nuclear program and also strategic deterrence.

    UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and EU Foreign Policy chief Catherine Ashton are scheduled to attend the March 19 meeting in Moscow.

    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.

     

    MOSCOW, March 11 (RIA Novosti)

     

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