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Russia calls for Quartet meeting

Russia proposed a July 16 meeting of the “Quartet.” It would be the first meeting of the grouping of Russia, the United States, the European Union and the United Nations that guides the Middle East peace process since Hamas ousted from the Gaza Strip forces loyal to Mahmoud Abbas, the relatively moderate Palestinian Authority president, and since Abbas fired the Hamas-led Cabinet. The Quartet was scheduled in any case to meet in mid-July. Russia has been pressing for a resumption of assistance to the Palestinian Authority and for an acceleration of final status peace talks; Western nations and Israel are more receptive now that Abbas has severed his relationship with Hamas.