EU: Israeli settlements are blocking Middle East peace

Israel's continued settlement activity in the West Bank is the main obstacle to a resumption of the Mideast peace process, EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner said Wednesday. "We have to be realistic and see that this settlement issue is at the moment an issue that blocks the negotiations," Ferrero-Waldner told reporters. She was speaking after meeting with Karen Abu Zayd, the outgoing head of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees. Ferrero-Waldner said the Quartet leading Mideast peace efforts - the United Nations, EU, Russia and the United States - will meet on the sidelines of the UN General assembly later in September to discuss the issue.