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EU official: No delay in labeling settlement goods

May 20, 2013 8:15 P.M. (Updated: May 22, 2013 9:58 A.M.)
JENIN (Ma'an) -- The European Union is still studying the possibility of labeling products made in illegal Israeli settlements, an EU official said Monday, dismissing media reports that a decision was taken to delay the move.

Israeli daily Haaretz reported Sunday that US Secretary of State John Kerry and other senior officials had asked Ashton to delay enforcement of the proposal, with the Americans saying that it would harm Kerry's efforts to restart peace talks.

"The EU decided to give Kerry the time he asked for and see whether the negotiations are resumed," a European diplomat said, according to the Haaretz report.

Speaking in Jenin, John Gatt-Rutter, the European Union Representative in Jerusalem, denied that any decision had been taken to postpone enforcement of legislation to label settlement goods.

The EU official said that settlement products will not be given the privileges that other Israeli products receive in the European market, adding that settlements are illegal and undermine efforts for peace.

After initially criticizing reports of US involvement in pressuring the EU to delay the legislation, Hanan Ashrawi issued a statement confirming that there had been no change in the EU position and no attempts by America to delay the labeling of illegal settlement products.
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