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EU: Mideast instability makes peace talks imperative

February 22, 2011 14:03

Hungarian FM tells Lieberman, who is holding talks with EU, that "time is pressing," talks with Palestinians "remain the core issue."

FM Lieberman with EU foriegn policy chief Ashton

Lieberman Ashton 311. (photo credit:Associated Press)

The European Union on Tuesday told Israel that growing instability in the Middle East makes it imperative to immediately resume the stalled peace process with the Palestinians.

Hungarian Foreign Minister Janos Martonyi, whose country currently chairs the EU, told Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Tuesday that "time is pressing" and that the Israeli-Palestinian talks "remain the core issue."

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Lieberman, who is holding talks with the EU as part of a decade-old association agreement, also said it was important to resume direct peace talks with the Palestinian Authority.

Lieberman left Sunday for Brussels for a meeting with the EU’s foreign ministers where he was participating in the EU-Israel Association Council meeting, along with some 27 EU foreign ministers. The Association Council is the central forum governing Israel-EU relations.

The EU message came as the PA negotiator Nabil Shaath said on Monday said that he believes that regime change in the Arab world will strengthen regional support for the Palestinian cause.

Some Palestinian officials, however, expressed fear that the events in Egypt would hurt the Palestinians because of Cairo’s preoccupation with domestic affairs.

“The weakness of the Arab position was one of the reasons behind the imbalance between Palestine and Israel,” Shaath said, at the same time ruling out the possibility that the PA would return to the negotiating table with Israel under the current circumstances.

Herb Keinon and Khaled Abu Toameh contributed to this report

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