Monday, May 25
Latest News
  1. Iran denies agreement on military site inspections
  2. Saudi Shiites prepare mass funeral for bombing victims
  3. Fierce fighting in Yemen as peace hopes fade
  4. Israel ex-PM Olmert sentenced to 8 months for corruption
  5. Iraq PM rebuts US criticism of security forces
  6. Syria regime 'launches 15 air raids around Palmyra'
  7. 'Beautiful Mind' mathematician John Nash killed in US car crash
  8. Report: Malaysia home minister says mass graves found
  9. Pentagon says Iraqi forces 'failed to fight' in Ramadi
  10. EU says Russia's NGO law is a 'worrying step'
  11. Yemen president insists on rebel pullback for UN talks
  12. Libyans arrest 600 Europe-bound illegal migrants
  13. Syria regime helicopter comes down in Aleppo province
  14. Saudi Shiites refuse to be provoked by suicide bombing
  15. Fresh air strikes and ground fighting in Yemen
  16. Saudi identifies dead suicide bomber, confirms link to IS
  17. Burundi activists suspend govt talks after opposition figure murdered
  18. Report: Malaysia home minister says mass graves found
  19. UN: Iranian aid cargo boat for Yemen offloaded in Djibouti
  20. Commanders: Iraq forces attack IS east of Ramadi

EU, Russia condemn Israeli settlement expansion plans

Dec. 21, 2012 5:42 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 24, 2012 12:33 P.M.)
BRUSSELS (Reuters) -- The European Union and Russia on Friday denounced Israel's plans to expand settlements in the occupied West Bank and urged Israelis and Palestinians to take "bold and concrete steps towards peace".

Israeli officials said this week they would press on with plans to build 6,000 homes for settlers on land claimed by Palestinians, defying criticism from Western powers who fear the move will damage already faint hopes for a peace accord.

"The European Union and the Russian Federation are deeply dismayed by and strongly oppose Israeli plans to expand settlements in the West Bank and in particular plans to develop the E1 area," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said in a statement.

E1 is a wedge of land between East Jerusalem and the West Bank where Israel had previously held off under US pressure.

"The EU and the Russian Federation underline the urgency of renewed, structured and substantial peace efforts in 2013," said the joint statement after an EU-Russia summit in Brussels.

Stung by de facto recognition of Palestinian sovereignty by the UN General Assembly last month, Israel announced it would expand settlements in the occupied West Bank including East Jerusalem.

The EU and Russia, which together with the United States and the United Nations make up the Quartet of Middle East mediators, said the settlements were illegal under international law and were an obstacle to peace.

"The EU and the Russian Federation will not recognize any changes to the pre-1967 borders, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties," they said.

It was time to take "bold and concrete steps towards peace between Palestinians and Israelis", they said, calling for "direct and substantial negotiations without preconditions".

The EU and Russia called for the unconditional opening of crossings for the flow of goods and people to and from the Gaza Strip, and urged Israel to avoid any step that would undermine the financial situation of the Palestinian Authority.

They urged the Palestinian leadership to use Palestine's new UN status constructively and avoid steps that would deepen lack of trust and lead further away from a negotiated solution.
Powered By: HTD Technologies
Ma'an News Agency
All rights reserved © 2005-2015