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Spain wants Mideast talks to resume this year

June 16, 2011 10:33 A.M. (Updated: June 18, 2011 9:26 A.M.)
MADRID, Spain (AFP) -- Spain supports a two-state solution and wants the Israelis and Palestinians to resume peace talks this year, the country's foreign ministry said Wednesday.

Spanish Foreign Minister Trinidad Jimenez met with her Palestinian counterpart Riyad Al-Malki on Wednesday, during an official visit which ends on Friday.

Jimenez "reiterated Spain's support in favor of a two-state solution...as the only path to a global and long-standing peace in the Middle East," a statement said.

"Spain is in favor of a solution under the auspices of the United Nations" and wants the negotiations to resume this year, a foreign ministry spokeswoman said.

Jimenez, however, did not speak about Palestine's bid for United Nations membership based on 1967 borders, with Palestinians insisting that UN recognition would only strengthen the peace process, as a step toward a negotiated two-state solution.

The European Union is divided over Palestine's membership in the United Nations.

Numerous nations, including France, have said they would vote for and recognize a Palestinian state if talks restart by September. Germany is currently opposed to recognition.

Spain's support for a two-state solution comes as EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton announced plans to visit the region to relaunch the peace process.

The talks have been on hold since September 2010, after grinding to a halt over Israeli settlement construction on occupied Palestinian land.

In an interview with the Washington Post on Thursday, King Abdullah of Jordan expressed skepticism about the possibilities for peace, saying that the window of opportunity was narrowing.
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