EU calls for extension in settlement building moratorium

European Union declaration: Settlements illegal under int'l law, calls end to rocket attacks; Mubarak urges PM to extend freeze 3 more months.

Men building 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Men building 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The European Union has called on Israel to extend the West Bank settlement building moratorium Thursday, according to text obtained by AFP.
According to the report, the EU "recalls that settlements are illegal under international law and calls for an extension of the moratorium decided by Israel," read the declaration which was adopted by foreign ministers.
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An end to rocket and terror attacks against Israel was also demanded in the declaration. The EU "continues to call for a complete stop to all violence, in particular rocket fire and terrorist attacks," the statement read.
The 27 nation alliance said in the text that it is "indispensable that both parties observe calm and restraint and refrain from actions that could affect negatively the process of negotiations."
Earlier Thursday, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said that he has urged Israel to expand the 10-month moratorium for three more months to give peacemaking a chance.
Mubarak said he told Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu the delay could give the two sides time to draft their future borders. After those lines are agreed, Mubarak reasoned, Israel can build within its future borders and the Palestinians within theirs.
His comments were carried in excerpts from an upcoming interview broadcast on Israel Radio.
Mubaraks comments came hours after the Prime Minister's Office issued a statement in response to reports that the Obama administration wants Israel to extend the moratorium, saying that "we won't comment on the content of negotiations."
"Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu's position regarding the time period allotted for the West Bank building moratorium is well known, and has not changed," the statement continued.
London-based paper A-sharq al-Awsat reported that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas had agreed to the US suggestion of expanding the settlement freeze.