New York - The diplomatic group on the Middle East peace process on Friday condemned Israel's plans to build housing units in East Jerusalem, which is claimed by the Palestinians. The Middle East quartet, which comprises the United Nations, European Union, United States and Russia, issued a statement at UN headquarters in New York to counter the Israeli plan to build an additional 1,600 housing units.
"The quartet reaffirms that unilateral actions taken by either party cannot prejudge the outcome of negotiations and will not be recognized by the international community," it said in a statement.
"The quartet reiterates that Arab-Israeli peace and the establishment of an independent, contiguous and viable state of Palestine is in the fundamental interests of the parties, of all states in the region, and of the international community," it said.
The group urged "all concerned" to support the urgent resumption of dialogue between Israel and the Palestinian Authority and to promote an atmosphere of successful negotiations in order to settle their conflict and other issues like the final status of Jerusalem.
The group is scheduled to meet in Moscow on March 18 to try and advance dialogue between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. But Israel's new settlement plan appeared to derail the purpose of the meeting.
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