Ashton calls for settlement freeze extension ahead of visit

EU Foreign Policy chief comments following meeting with Hillary Clinton; Ashton due to arrive in Israel Thursday for meetings with Netanyahu, Abbas, Mitchell.

By JPOST.COM STAFF, AP
September 29, 2010 21:06
1 minute read.
EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Sec

catherine ashton 311. (photo credit: AP)

The recently expired settlement construction moratorium must be extended if the peace talks are to have any hope of succeeding, EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton said Wednesday after a Washington meeting with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Earlier on Wednesday, Ashton announced an imminent trip to Israel, where she is expected to land on Thursday. Ashton said she was heading to the region "as a matter of priority" after talking to Mitchell and international Mideast envoy Tony Blair.

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She reiterated in a statement that the European Union regrets Israel's decision not to extend a 10-month-old moratorium on West Bank housing starts that expired this week.

Starting Thursday, the EU foreign policy chief will meet with Netanyahu, Abbas and Mitchell over two days to try to prevent the collapse of negotiations. She reiterated in a statement that the European Union regrets Israel's decision not to extend a 10-month-old moratorium on West Bank housing starts that expired this week.

Also on Wednesday, the PLO said that they cannot be expected to continue peace talks unless Israel reverses the decision to lift restrictions on settlement construction.


Hanna Amireh, a member of the PLO body, said there was widespread opposition to resuming talks without a settlement curb.

"The consensus is that since the entire world is in favor of a Palestinian state and against settlements, then let us throw this problem in the face of the world and see what they can do about it," Amireh said.


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