Catherine Ashton and Ehud Barak_311.
(photo credit: Ariel Harmony / Defense Ministry)
Defense Minister Ehud Barak met with EU foreign affairs chief Catherine
Ashton during her visit to the country, reiterating to her that the
Palestinian decision to head to the UN is misguided and
"counterproductive," adding that negotiations were the only way to reach
a peaceful solution with the Palestinian leadership.
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was in the region for a last-minute bid to bring Palestinians and
Israelis back to the negotiating table before the Palestinian Authority
heads to the United Nations seeking statehood recognition, stressed on
Saturday that the EU wanted to help restart peace talks.
"That is why I am traveling to the region this weekend,”
Ashton has not officially announced whether or
not the EU would block the Palestinian Authority's state-recognition bid
at the UN, but has said that the resumption of negotiations remains the
top priority for the EU.
The EU policy chief has been highly vocal in response to recent Israeli
announcements of housing construction in the settlement of Ariel and in east
Jerusalem, and said that such moves threaten "the viability of a two-state solution" and derail any attempts to bring both parties back to the negotiating table.
Ashton was scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas during her visit.Khaled Abu Toameh contributed to this report.