EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton in Gaza 311 (R).
(photo credit: REUTERS/ Mohammed Salem)
The measures taken by the European Union against Iran are a step in the
right direction, said Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in a meeting
with EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton on Wednesday.
The EU banned imports of oil from Iran on Monday and imposed a number of other economic sanctions, joining the United States in a new round of measures aimed at deflecting Tehran's nuclear development program.
On the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks that ended
Wednesday night, Netanyahu said that Israel was trying to
continue the negotiations.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who also
met with Ashton, echoed Netanyahu's praise of the EU's decision on Iran,
and said that this was the first time that significant steps had been taken
that would be felt in Iran.
Lieberman added that it was
important to keep an eye on Iran's increasing involvement in Iraq, as well
as its activities to strengthen Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime.
Earlier Wednesday, Ashton called for the
continuation of talks between Israel and the Palestinians, during a
visit to the Gaza Strip.
Ashton crossed into the Gaza Strip from Israel Wednesday
morning for a visit to UNRWA-operated Gaza Training Center but did not
meet with any Hamas officials. The EU’s policy is that it will not
engage with Hamas until that organization renounces terrorism,
recognizes Israel and accepts previous Israeli-Palestinian agreements.
EU foreign policy chief also called for the lifting of the blockade on
Gaza to allow free imports and exports of goods and free movement.
EU, she added, wants to see economic growth in Gaza so that its
residents can build better lives for themselves, "but that requires
serious negotiations to take place."