BRUSSELS, April 27 (KUNA) -- EU High Representative for foreign affairs and security policy Catherine Ashton Sunday expressed "extreme concern" at recent developments related to the peace process, which are putting into question the continued negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians beyond the original deadline of 29 April 2014.
She was hinting to the recent decision by Israel to cancel talks with the Palestinian Authority following a deal between the two Palestinian factions, Hamas and Fatah, to form a unity government.
Ashton in a statement reiterated the EU's full support to the US-brokered peace efforts and called on both parties to "remain focused on negotiations and on the unprecedented benefits which peace can bring."
"Negotiations are the best way forward. The extensive efforts deployed in recent months must not go to waste," she said and called all sides to exercise maximum restraint and to avoid any action which may further undermine peace efforts and the viability of a two-state solution.
"The EU has consistently supported intra-Palestinian reconciliation but on clear and certain terms. The EU reiterated that such reconciliation should take place behind President Abbas in line with the principles set out in his speech of 4 May 2011," stated the EU foreign policy chief.
"The EU expects any new government to uphold the principle of non-violence, to remain committed to achieving a two-state solution and to a negotiated peaceful settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, accepting previous agreements and obligations, including Israel's legitimate right to exist," she said.
"Reconciliation on these terms is an important element for the unity of a future Palestinian state and for reaching a two-state solution and a lasting peace," stressed Ashton.
"The EU welcomes the prospect of genuine democratic elections for all Palestinians. The fact that President Abbas will remain fully in charge of the negotiation process and have a mandate to negotiate in the name of all Palestinians provides further assurance that the peace negotiations can and must proceed," she added. (end)