EU urges Israel, Palestinians back to negotiating table

In Brussels, leaders of European Union call on both sides to abstain from "unilateral actions," say need for negotiations is urgent.

European Union ministers in Luxembourg 311 (R) (photo credit: REUTERS/Francois Lenoir )
European Union ministers in Luxembourg 311 (R)
(photo credit: REUTERS/Francois Lenoir )
BRUSSELS - European Union leaders, who met in Brussels for their semester-end summit, called on Israel and the Palestinians "to engage urgently in negotiations."
They called on all parties "to abstain from unilateral actions that are not conducive to a comprehensive solution," a reference to plans by the Palestinians to seek recognition of a Palestinian state at the United Nations in September.  
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"Only the resumption of direct negotiations could provide a realistic chance of improving the situation on the ground, thus leading to a lasting and comprehensive solution," they said Friday in a declaration issued after their talks.  
"The Arab spring is an invitation to redouble our efforts for progress on the Middle East peace process and to overcome the current stalemate, while respecting previous agreements and obligations," said Herman Van Rompuy, president of the EU Council, at a press conference.  
EU leaders expressed support to EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton’s call for the Quartet "to create a credible perspective for the re-launching of the peace process as a matter of urgency."
"The European Council also supports the initiative to call a conference in Paris to provide economic support for the construction of the Palestinian State in the framework of a relaunched peace process."