EU makes new push for Mideast peace talks

CAIRO — The European Union made a new push Monday to revive the stalled Mideast peace process, offering to raise aid to the Palestinians and beef up its security missions in Lebanon and the Palestinian areas to help Israel.
"The European Union is ready to step up its involvement" in the peace process, Catherine Ashton, the EU foreign and security affairs chief, said in an address to the Arab League in Cairo, opening a four-day tour of the Middle East.
Reflecting Europe's frustration over the deadlocked peace process, Ashton criticized Israel's announcement last week it will build new housing units in east Jerusalem and the Palestinian leadership's reluctance to embrace reforms.
Ashton said the EU wants the Quartet of Mideast peacemakers — the EU, the United States, the United Nations and Russia — to do more to nudge Israel and the Palestinians to peace.
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