WASHINGTON (JTA) — The "Quartet" guiding the Middle East process will meet next month and the top U.S. envoy is in the region attempting to re-start Israeli-Palestinian talks. T
he Quartet of the United States the European Union, the United Nations and Russia will meet in Munich Feb. 4-6, the German government announced.
The meeting will take place at its highest level, among foreign ministers, including Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Meanwhile, George Mitchell, the top U.S. envoy to the region, was meeting Friday with Israeli and Palestinian officials, the State Department said.
"This is all trying to build a foundation, improve trust, and try to move the parties back to direct negotiations," spokesman P.J. Crowley said Thursday.
Mitchell’s tour follows one by Dennis Ross, a senior White House official handling the Middle East.
Under U.S. guidance, the sides engaged in three weeks of direct talks in September, but these came to an impasse when the Palestinians walked out because Israel would not extend a partial freeze on West Bank settlement building.