The Middle East Quartet envoys said Sunday they will invite Israeli and Palestinian representatives for a first round of peace talks in the coming days, in an attempt to restart negotiations stalled since 2008

Envoys from the Quartet - the United States, the European Union, the United Nations and Russia - met Sunday in Brussels to hash out a strategy as international pressure to reach a peace deal mounts.

"We will be contacting the parties to invite them to meet in the coming days," said EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who hosted the meeting. "I believe we have made good progress and will keep in close contact with Quartet partners and colleagues in the region with view to meet and move things forward."

Mideast envoy Tony Blair said the Quartet is committed to restarting negotiations.

"Today's meeting showed the Quartet's commitment to the timetable for talks
set out in our September statement," said Blair. "We look forward to meeting with the
parties shortly."

The Palestinians and Israelis have angered each other in recent weeks - the Palestinians by requesting UN recognition as a state and the Israelis by announcing they would build 1,100 new housing units in Jerusalem, beyond the Green Line.