US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is in Berlin to meet German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier to brief him on her Middle East diplomatic mission. Germany currently heads the European Union, which along with the United Nations, the US and Russia forms the Quartet group trying to pilot the “road map” peace plan for the Middle East.
“The Quartet is the guardian, in a sense, of the road map, and as we try to accelerate the implementation of the road map, we would like the Quartet to try to lend assistance to the parties as they do it,” said Rice.
She meets Chancellor Angela Merkel today with Quartet meetings resuming at the end of this month or early February. Germany wants to “revitalise” the Quartet, but it can only do so much, as Steinmeier made clear. “Of course, we cannot replace the political will of the parties and make progress in their stead, but we have to create incentives and to be there where the parties cannot go without our assistance” said Steinmeier.
Rice says she will engineer a summit between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in the next three weeks. The last time the Israelis were involved in any peace process was seven years ago