Abbas to Ashton: Europe should recognize Palestinian state
In a meeting with EU foreign policy chief, Palestinian Authority president calls on European Union nations to recognize a Palestinian State.
By KHALED ABU TOAMEH
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Friday urged the EU to recognize a Palestinian state along the pre-1967 lines with east Jerusalem as its capital.Abbas’s call came during a meeting in his office with Catherine Ashton, the EU’s high representative for foreign affairs and security policy.RELATED:PM, Blair meet as peace process returns to int'l agenda'EU may push Israel into peace talks'PLO Executive Committee member Saeb Erekat said after the meeting that six EU countries have already recognized the Palestinian state.“We have Palestinian embassies in these countries,” Erekat said. “We are hoping that the remaining 21 countries would recognize the independent Palestinian state so as to solidify and preserve the two-state solution.”He said that Abbas also asked the EU to help the PA in its efforts to seel full membership of the Palestinian state in the United Nations.“This step is not aimed at isolating Israel,” Erekat stressed. “It’s aimed at consolidating the principle of the two-state solution and to say that the 1967 borders are the borders of the Palestinian state and that east Jerusalem is its capital so that this state could live in security and peace alongside Israel.”Erekat said that the international community should help the Palestinians in their statehood bid “because [Prime Minister] Binyamin Netanyahu is not a partner to any peace process.”He accused Netanyahu of trying to impose his dictates on the Palestinians and of pursuing a policy of assassinations and invasions and creating new facts on the ground.Erekat said that Ashton’s reply was that the EU’s top priority remained the resumption of the peace process. She also said that the PA demand would be discussed “inside the corridors of the EU.”The Palestinians did not hear from Ashton that she’s opposed to the UN move, Erekat added. “But we also didn’t hear from her that she supports the step. At least the dialogue remains open on this matter.”During the meeting, Abbas once again expressed his willingness to return to the negotiating table with Israel if Netanyahu accepted the two-state solution and agreed to halt settlement construction in the West Bank and Jerusalem, Erekat said.
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