EU High Representative Catherine Ashton visits the Middle East (04/01/2011)

Catherine Ashton, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Commission Vice-President, will travel to the Middle East on 5 and 6 January. She will meet key leaders from both the Israeli and Palestinian authorities to confirm the commitment of the European Union to the peace process, and to reiterate the need for the opening of crossings into Gaza in order to allow for its reconstruction and economic recovery.

Speaking ahead of the trip Catherine Ashton said: "Urgent progress is now needed towards a lasting Israeli-Palestinian peace and the European Union will continue to support all efforts towards that goal. There is no alternative to a negotiated solution. We want to see the State of Israel and a sovereign and viable State of Palestine living side by side in peace and security."

For more information:

Statement by HRVP Ashton following meeting with Senator Mitchell, 16th December 2010:http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_Data/docs/pressdata/EN/foraff/118541.pdf

Foreign Affairs Council conclusions from December 2010:http://www.consilium.europa.eu/ueDocs/cms_Data/docs/pressData/EN/foraff/118456.pdf