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EU council urges resumption of Israel-Palestine negotiations

Council reaffirms commitment to a two-state solution and peace in the region.

Children playing near the Kiryat Arba settlement close to Hebron in the West Bank.
Children playing near the Kiryat Arba settlement close to Hebron in the West Bank.
Image: AP Photo/Bernat Armangue/PA File

THE EU FOREIGN AFFAIRS Council has welcomed a recent exchange of correspondence between leaders in Israel and the Palestinian Authority and called on both sides to resume peace talks.

Over the weekend, Israel and the Palestinian Authority issued a rare joint statement reaffirming their commitment to peace.

After meeting today, the Foreign Affairs Council of the EU said it remains committed to a two-state solution and its “conviction that the ongoing changes across the Arab world make the need for progress on the Middle East peace process all the more urgent”:

Heeding the aspirations of the people in the region, including those of Palestinians for statehood and those of Israelis for security is a crucial element for lasting peace, stability and prosperity in the region.

Settlements and violence

The council also expressed its “deep concern” about some issues on the ground which could prevent the establishment two-state solution, including “the marked acceleration of settlement construction following the end of the 2010 moratorium” and “ongoing evictions and house demolitions” in East Jerusalem.

“The EU reiterates that a way must be found through negotiations to resolve the status of Jerusalem as the future capital of two states,” the council said in a statement.

“Until then, the EU calls for an equitable provision of resources and investment to the city’s population. The EU calls for the reopening of Palestinian institutions in Jerusalem in accordance with the Roadmap.”

The council also emphasised its commitment to Israel’s security, condemning recurring rocket attacks from Gaza and violence which targets civilians.

“The EU reiterates its call on all partners in the region for the effective prevention of arms smuggling into Gaza,” it added.

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore welcomed the EU statement, saying it marks “an important step in EU efforts to break the impasse in negotiations for a settlement to the conflict in the Middle East.”

“It is important that the new Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority now make use of the opportunity presented following the discussions which took place between the two sides this weekend, to resume substantive negotiations with a view to achieving a two state solution.”

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