catherine ashton 311.
(photo credit: AP)
NEW YORK – At a UN Security Council meeting Tuesday, the EU high representative
for foreign affairs and security policy and vice president of the European
Commission said that “urgent progress on the Middle East peace process is vital,
now more than ever.”
In remarks before the Security Council, Catherine
Ashton referenced having chaired a meeting of the Quartet in Munich last
weekend, noting that the quest for negotiated peace between Israel and the
Palestinians “has dominated the region for decades.
must bring us closer to that goal, not further away,” Ashton said, noting that
the Quartet will meet separately with Israeli and Palestinian negotiators, as
well as follow up with envoys in Brussels prior to meeting again in March “to
ensure the momentum is kept up,” with the goal of a framework agreement by
“The parameters for peace as seen by the European Union are
well-known: two states, co-existing in peace and security, with a Palestinian
state that is sovereign, independent, democratic, contiguous and viable, based
on 1967 borders with Jerusalem as future capital of two states,” Ashton said.
“Our position on this, and on related issues, including settlements, remains
Ashton also reiterated EU budgetary support and security
assistance for the Palestinian Authority.
The EU will also host an Ad Hoc
Liaison Committee meeting in Brussels in April to promote Palestinian
“This council knows well the great needs of the
people of Gaza.
The European Union is fully committed to support them,”
Ashton stated that she has proposed a comprehensive package
of EU support for the Gaza crossings, focusing on infrastructure, equipment and
“Our objective remains an unconditional opening of these
crossings, while addressing Israeli legitimate security needs,” she
Referencing Iran as an issue “that affects the landscape of the
wider Middle East, and indeed global security,” Ashton stated that “the
fundamental problem is that we do not have confidence that the Iranian nuclear
program is purely civilian in nature.”
Calls by Iran in January for the
EU to recognize “Iran’s right to the entire fuel cycle, including enrichment”
and a lifting of sanctions were “disappointing,” Ashton said.
side, we reiterated that we remain committed to the path of dialogue. Our
practical proposals remain on the table,” Ashton said. “If Iran were to adopt
some of the transparency measures that most countries already implement, we
would be starting a process that could go far.”