United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrived in Lisbon, Portugal, on Thursday, 19 July, to attend a meeting of the principal members of the Middle East Quartet.
After consulting with his top aides, the Secretary-General met in the afternoon with the other principal Quartet members: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, High Representative for European Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana, Portuguese Foreign Minister Luis Amado, and European Commissioner for External Relations Benita Ferrero-Waldner. They were joined by Quartet Representative Tony Blair, the former United Kingdom Prime Minister.
Following that meeting, the Secretary-General attended a press conference of all the principal members, and read out a joint statement on their behalf. (See Press Release SG/2130.)
He said that the Quartet reaffirmed its commitment to bring about an end to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and to work to lay the foundation for the establishment of an independent, democratic and viable Palestinian State living side by side with Israel in peace and security, as a step towards a comprehensive, just, and lasting peace in the Middle East, consistent with the Road Map and United Nations Security Council resolutions.
He added that the Quartet welcomed President George W. Bush’s 16 July statement renewing United States commitment to a negotiated two-State solution, and supported President Bush’s call for an international meeting in the fall. The Quartet looks forward to consultations as the meeting is prepared. The Quartet agreed that such a meeting should provide diplomatic support for the parties in their bilateral discussions and negotiations in order to move forward on a successful path to a Palestinian State.
The joint statement also said that the Quartet expressed its deep concern over the humanitarian conditions in Gaza and agreed on the importance of continued emergency and humanitarian assistance.
The Secretary-General, following the press conference, attended a dinner for the principal Quartet members, hosted by the Prime Minister of Portugal, José Socrates.
He returned to New York on Friday, 20 July.