EU calls for halt to settlement activity

EU calls for halt to set

eu foreign ministers 248.88 (photo credit: AP)
eu foreign ministers 248.88
(photo credit: AP)
The European Union on Friday urged Israel "to immediately end all settlement activities, including in East Jerusalem," in a statement issued by the EU's Swedish presidency. Stressing the urgency of a durable solution in the Gaza crisis, the 27-member bloc also called for the "immediate and unconditional" opening of crossings for the flow of humanitarian aid, commercial goods and persons to and from Gaza. The statement came one day after EU leaders met informally in Brussels to discuss financial and economic issues ahead of the G-20 summit in Pittsburgh. "The European Union remains committed to a comprehensive settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict. We strongly support the United States' vigorous pursuit of a two state-solution and call on the parties to fully engage in resumed negotiations to create a viable Palestinian state on the basis of the June 1967 borders, living side by side in peace and security with the State of Israel," the statement said. The EU urged the Palestinian Authority "to continue in its efforts to improve security and the rule of law, building on the achievements reached so far." The EU underlined the importance of the Arab Peace Initiative and invited Israel and all Arab countries "to take confidence building measures to create an atmosphere conducive to conflict resolution." The EU said it stands ready to use all instruments at its disposal in order to support comprehensive peace in the Middle East, including a lasting settlement for the conflicts between Israel and Syria and between Israel and Lebanon.