The Quartet of world powers (the United States, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations) sponsoring the Mideast peace process has called on the Palestinian Authority to begin dismantling militant groups, in the wake of Israel's pullout from the Gaza Strip. "Ultimately, those who want to be part of the political process should not engage in armed group or militia activities, for there is a fundamental contradiction between such activities and the building of a democratic state," UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan told a news conference. The Quartet, meeting at UN headquarters in New York, also made it clear that it expects more Israeli concessions. "For us at the Quartet, it's Gaza first and then the next stage is the West Bank,” Annan said. “It's not Gaza first and then Gaza last."
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