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EU voices strong opposition to Israeli settlement policy
18/01/2016 | LOC22:59
19:59 GMT
| World News
تصغير الخطالشكل الأساسيتكبير الخط
Federica MOGHERINI, High Representative of the EU for  Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
Federica MOGHERINI, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
BRUSSELS, Jan 18 (KUNA) -- The European Union (EU) strongly condemned Monday the expansion of illegal Jewish settlements in Palestine and called on Israel to stop them.
EU foreign ministers after their meeting here this evening (late on Monday) stressed in a statement that "settlements are illegal under international law, constitute an obstacle to peace and threaten to make a two-state solution impossible." "The EU reiterates its strong opposition to Israel's settlement policy and actions taken in this context, such as building the separation barrier beyond the 1967 line, demolitions and confiscation - including of EU funded projects - evictions, forced transfers including of Bedouins, illegal outposts and restrictions of movement and access," they said.
The ministers urged Israel "to end all settlement activity and to dismantle the outposts erected since March 2001, in line with prior obligations. Settlement activity in East Jerusalem seriously jeopardizes the possibility of Jerusalem serving as the future capital of both States." The statement expressed the EU's commitment to ensure that - in line with international law - all agreements between Israel and the EU "must unequivocally and explicitly indicate their inapplicability to the territories occupied by Israel in 1967." The EU recalled the special significance of the holy sites, and called for upholding the status quo put in place in 1967 for the al-Haram al-Sharif in line with previous understandings and with respect to Jordan's special role.
The statement said that a" fundamental change of policy by Israel with regard to the occupied Palestinian territory, particularly in Area C, will significantly increase economic opportunities, empower Palestinian institutions and enhance stability and security for both Israelis and Palestinians." It called on all parties to take swift steps to produce a fundamental change to the political, security and economic situation in the Gaza Strip, including the end of the closure and a full opening of the crossing points.
Meanwhile, speaking at a press conference after the meeting, EU High Representative Federica Mogherini said she updated the EU ministers on the implementation day of the Iranian nuclear deal, the meeting dedicated the morning session to Syria and Iraq, and the tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
On the Iran nuclear deal, she said "this is a turning point not only for the security in the region but it opens new ways for bilateral cooperation," and announced that she will lead a team of EU officials to Tehran in spring.
"We invited all in the region to calm down the rhetoric and deescalate the tensions," said Mogherini.
The EU ministers also had an "important exchange" with Jordanian foreign minister Nasser Judeh over lunch, and the ministers agreed on the need to invest in the stability of Jordan.
Mogherini said the President of the European Council Donald Tusk and herself will take part in the conference on Syria to be held in London on 4 February.
On Syria, she said "let me first of all thank Saudi Arabia for the work they have done in putting together the conference on Syria in Riyadh in December facilitating this difficult work. They have come out with a process and result much more than expected." Meanwhile, the EU Foreign Affairs Council also issued a statement on Libya saying that the EU fully supports the Libyan Political Agreement that was signed on 17 December 2015 and welcomed the formation of the Presidency Council, presided over by Fayyez al-Sarraj.
"The EU and its Member States will support the Government of National Accord (GNA) as the sole legitimate government of Libya and urges all Libyan institutions, including financial and economic ones, to accept the authority of the GNA," it added. (end) nk.hm
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