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EU Urges Renewed ME Talks

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TEHRAN, July 19 (ICANA) – The EU foreign ministers have called on Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) to resume direct talks ahead of a UN vote on the recognition of a Palestinian state in September.
Tuesday, July 19, 2011 9:26:19 PM
EU Urges Renewed ME Talks

“The EU reiterates its concern at the continuing stalemate in the peace process and calls on the parties to show the highest sense of responsibility and to resume direct and substantive talks,” the EU foreign ministers said after meeting in Brussels, AFP reported on Monday.

In September 2010, Israel resumed settlement construction in occupied Palestinian territories after a 10-month partial freeze, prompting the PA to walk out of US-sponsored talks with Tel Aviv that had resumed after a lengthy standoff.

Israeli officials announced on Monday that they are seeking construction companies to build 336 apartments in the occupied West Bank.

The Palestinians have been preparing to declare statehood at the UN General Assembly in September.

High-ranking officials from the so-called Middle East Quartet, including US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, failed to reach an agreement on the Palestinian-Israeli direct negotiations last week in Washington.

On Thursday, Arab League Secretary General Nabil al-Arabi said the Arab Peace Initiative (API) committee would "move to present a request for full membership of a Palestinian state in the [UN] General Assembly and the [UN] Security Council" in September.

The US has threatened to use its veto power to thwart the move.

Among EU member states, Germany and Italy have opposed Palestinian efforts to archive statehood while France and Spain have suggested they might recognize an independent Palestinian state.

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