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Netanyahu: Israel rejects EU 'external dictates' on borders

July 16, 2013 8:35 P.M. (Updated: July 18, 2013 1:30 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (AFP) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday rejected European Union guidelines barring the bloc's 28 member states from funding projects in Jewish settlements.

"We shall not accept any external dictates on our borders," his office quoted him as telling an emergency ministerial meeting. "That is an issue that will be decided only in direct negotiations between the sides."

Netanyahu convened his justice and trade ministers and his deputy foreign minister after the EU revealed the guidelines, which will affect all EU grants, prizes and funding from 2014 onwards, with no further funding available to Israeli entities beyond the 1967 Green Line.

Netanyahu said the Europeans appeared to have a distorted sense of priorities.

"I would expect those who concern themselves with peace and stability in the region to only debate such an issue after resolving problems which are slightly more urgent, such as the Syrian civil war or Iran's race to obtain nuclear weapons," the statement from his office said.

A senior Israeli official said that the EU move was likely to prove a stumbling block to US Secretary of State John Kerry's diplomatic effort to revive stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

"Some in Europe seem to be determined to undermine this effort and to undermine the chance of returning to direct Israeli-Palestinian peace talks," he told AFP. "Why would any Palestinian leader enter negotiations when they receive what they want without negotiation?".

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