EU and UN slam gov't's refusal to halt settlement building

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
December 10, 2010 01:29

 
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The United Nations and the European Union on Thursday rebuked the Netanyahu government after its refusal to halt settlement construction forced Washington to drop efforts to relaunch Mideast peace talks.

Washington, did not seek to cast blame. But other members of the so-called Quartet of Mideast mediators, which also includes the EU, the UN and Russia, sharply criticized Israel.

"I note with regret that Israel has not been in a position to accept an extension of the (settlement) moratorium, as requested by the US, the EU and the Quartet," Catherine Ashton, the EU foreign policy chief, said Thursday.

"The EU position on settlements is clear: They are illegal under international law and an obstacle to peace. Recent settlement-related developments, including in east Jerusalem, contradict efforts by the international community for successful negotiations," she said.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed regret "that Israel will not heed the united call of the international community, as reflected by the Quartet, to extend the settlement restraint policy," UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said.

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