Israel to hold talks on non-diplomatic issues with EU

Talks to take place despite recent Israeli declarations of suspending various ties with the European Union as a result of its directive to label products from the settlements.

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December 8, 2015 13:05
1 minute read.
A young migrant child plays with a European Union flag after crossing the Austrian border

A young migrant child plays with a European Union flag after crossing the Austrian border in Nickelsdorf. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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Despite recent Israeli declarations of suspending various ties with the European Union as a result of its directive to label products from the settlements, two EU subcommittees will be convened in Israel this week.

According to an EU statement, the EU-Israel subcommittee on Agriculture and Fisheries will meet at the Volcani Center in Beit Dagan on Tuesday, and the EU-Israel Subcommittee on Industry, Trade and Services will meet in Jerusalem on Wednesday.

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In addition, a sub-committee on anti-Semitism is scheduled to meet next week in Brussels.

Immediately following the EU’s decision to label products from the settlements last month, Israel told EU ambassador Lars Faaborg-Andersen it was suspending its diplomatic dialogue for a number of weeks.

Foreign Ministry officials later clarified this decision pertained mostly to Palestinian and human rights related issues, but that the dialogue would continue on other topics.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu directed the ministry last week to suspend contact with the EU on the Middle East peace process, pending a reassessment of relations with EU institutions.

One Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Monday, confirming the two upcoming meetings would take place, that Israel had no intention of harming its own interests, and would continue to have meetings with the EU on issues not related to the diplomatic process with the Palestinians.

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The first test of whether indeed Israel would boycott the EU when it comes to diplomatic issues was originally expected to take place on Wednesday, with the scheduled arrival here of Quartet representatives to take part in diplomatic meetings. The EU’s special envoy, Fernando Gentilini, was to be a member of that delegation.

That visit has been postponed, however, though diplomatic sources stressed that this had to do with scheduling, rather than political issues. No new date for the delegation’s visit has been set.

This marks the second time the delegation has put off its visit. Quartet officials – representing the US, EU, Russia and United Nations – met on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting in New York in September and decided to send a delegation to Israel and the Palestinian Authority to look for ways to deescalate the situation and move the diplomatic process forward.

That delegation was scheduled to arrive on October 11, but was postponed at Israel’s request because of continued violence.

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