The four intermediaries on the Middle East settlement will meet here on December 20. Russia will be represented by Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, who has arrived in the US capital shortly before. Other participants will be Secretary of State Colin Powell, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and EU representatives.
The heads of the foreign policy departments of the Four will adopt "a road map for the implementation of the three-stage plan of movement towards the creation of the Palestinian state and attaining comprehensive settlement."
The world community has been worried by the situation around Palestinian territories. All efforts taken to break the vicious circle, in particular by the Four, have failed so far. In reply to the raids by Palestinian radicals, Israel takes harsh measures that cannot stop terrorist acts, though.
Experts believe that "reliance on force is only breeding stronger extremist sentiments and threatens to deadlock the situation." The crisis can be defused only if the sides take reciprocal steps to normalise the situation, launch dialogue and resume political process.
A member of the Russian delegation told RIA that the "road map" elaborated by the Four offers a chance for overcoming confrontation. The map is a substantial document with a considerable peace potential, said the source. According to him, "its implementation can precipitate a breakthrough in the settlement process."
On the other hand, the Four see that the political situation in Israel on the eve of the January elections and the stand of the "irreconcilable Palestinian organisations that reject peace methods of settling the conflict can crate problems."
But this only confirms the importance of adopting the "road map" at the Washington meeting, since there is no reasonable alternative to a political settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
It is expected that President George Bush will meet with the representatives of the group.