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Middle East quartet may meet soon - Russia's Lavrov

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov speaks during a joint news conference with his Indian counterpart Pranab Mukherjee in New Delhi October 20, 2008. REUTERS/B Mathur

MOSCOW (Reuters) - The Quartet of Middle East peace mediators may meet in early November with Israeli and Palestinian participation, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was quoted by Interfax news agency as saying.

The so-called Quartet of the United States, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations has been attempting to breath life into the stalled peace process.

“It would be natural that such a meeting should be held in the Middle East region. At the present time, the conversation is to conduct this meeting in the first half of November,” Interfax quoted Lavrov as saying in the Armenian capital Yerevan.

Lavrov said the meeting would take place at ministerial level, Interfax quoted him as saying. Lavrov is on an official visit with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to Armenia.

Israeli and Palestinian diplomats have been attempting to negotiate a peace deal that could be finalised before U.S. President George W. Bush steps down in January, though both sides now doubt an agreement can be reached in this timeframe.

During the U.N. General Assembly on Sept. 26, the Quartet issued a statement saying it favoured holding an international meeting on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process in Moscow next year.