Quartet 'failing' in Middle East

Aid agencies charge US, UN, EU and Russia with little Palestinian-Israeli progress.

    Blair says the Quartet is working on easing restrictions on Palestinian movement [EPA]

    Roadblocks

    In an interview with Al Jazeera last week, Tony Blair, the so-called special envoy of the Middle East Quartet, claimed that roadblocks in the West Bank are slowly being removed.

    He said: "We are working now, not just with the Palestinians but with the Israelis, to try to move those roadblocks, to get them progressively lifted.

    "For example, in and around the Jenin area ... what we're trying to do is deliver a different form of security operations so that the Palestinians take charge of their security."

    Under mediation in the West Bank city of Jenin, the Israeli military has pulled back, allowing Palestinian security forces to assume more control in the city.

    The report was released on the eve of a meeting of the Middle East Quartet in New York. The groups criticising its performance include CARE International UK, Oxfam and Save the Children UK.

    Salaam Kannan, director of Save the Children UK's programmes in the West Bank, told Al Jazeera that the Quartet needed to "formulate an action plan to reassess its performance, to acknowledge its shortcomings and to hold all parties to the conflict accountable".

    She acknowledged that some improvements had been made, namely "increased fuel to Gaza - though not in sufficient quantities - and improvement in the Palestinian security reform strategy".

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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