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Latest update : 2008-12-30

Foreign ministers from the Middle East diplomatic "Quartet" have called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and southern Israel, UN sources said. The Quartet brings together representatives from the UN, EU, the United States and Russia.

Reuters - Foreign ministers from the "Quartet" of Middle East peace brokers called on Tuesday for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and southern Israel, a U.N. spokeswoman said.

The call followed telephone consultations by the officials of the Quartet -- grouping the United Nations, the United States, Russia and the European Union -- on four days of Israeli air strikes on Gaza responding to Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana were on the conference call, U.N. officials said.

After discussing the situation in Gaza and southern Israel, "They called for an immediate ceasefire that would be fully respected," U.N. spokeswoman Marie Okabe said.

They called on all parties to address the serious humanitarian and economic needs in Gaza and to take necessary measures to ensure the continuous provision of humanitarian supplies," she said.

"They agreed on the urgent need for Israelis and Palestinians to continue on the road to peace," Okabe added in what was described as a "readout" of the Quartet discussions but not an official statement by the grouping.


Date created : 2008-12-30