PM, FM meet Ashton, praise EU sanctions on Iran

Netanyahu and Lieberman meet with EU foreign policy chief in Jerusalem; FM: "We must keep an eye on Iran's activity in Iraq, Syria."

January 26, 2012 07:23
1 minute read.
EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton in Gaza 311 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS/ Mohammed Salem)


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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.

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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.

The 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.

The 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."

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