Delegation of the European Union to South Africa

Middle East Peace Process: "This is not the time to disengage," Mogherini tells Abbas

22/01/2018 - 15:07
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The European Union is firmly committed to a two-State solution in the Middle East, with Jerusalem as the capital of both Israel and Palestine, and will continue to concretely support the peace process and the Palestinian people, including through its backing of the work of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

Mogherini, Abbas, Middle East, Palestine, two-state solution, Jerusalem, Israel

"I want to reassure President Abbas of the firm commitment of the European Union to the two-State solution, with Jerusalem as shared capital of the two states - the State of Israel and the State of Palestine," EU High Representative Federica Mogherini said meeting Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on 22 January.

"This is and remains the EU position, based on the Oslo accords and the international consensus embodied in relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions. It is also the only realistic and viable way to fulfil the legitimate aspirations of both parties”, said Mogherini.

Abbas was invited to attend a working lunch with the 28 Foreign Ministers to discuss perspectives for the Middle East Peace Process, following a similar breakfast with Prime Minister of Israel Netanyahu in December.

"This is not the time to disengage; on the contrary. Palestinians, and Israelis, need to show more than ever before their engagement with the international community, with key actors in this process, so that we can together work towards a negotiated outcome," Mogherini said.

The commitment of the European Union to a two-state solution is not only on paper, but translates into concrete engagements.

The European Union and its Member States are collectively the largest supporter for the Palestinians and the largest donor. EU support to the Palestinians in 2017 amounted to nearly €359 million, covering a wide range of areas, including humanitarian assistance, capacity building, democratic governance and socio-economic development.

"Our support will continue, including to UNRWA - which is doing invaluable work supporting the Palestine refugees in and outside of Palestine, and ensuring their access to basic services such as education, health and jobs, pending resolution of their situation," the High Representative said.

Support to projects on the ground is accompanied by a busy diplomatic agenda and constant contacts with partners in the region and beyond.

After having held a Quartet Envoys' meeting last week, the EU will host an extraordinary session of the international donor group for Palestine in Brussels next week. The Ad Hoc Liaison Committee will convene on 31 January to look at options of how to strengthen the already existing support.

"We have already invested a great deal in the Palestinian state building project, and we are also looking at what options we have to strengthen our support," the High Representative said.

"Gaza, where a humanitarian crisis is unfolding, will also be a central topic of our discussions. And the unification of the West Bank and Gaza under one single, legitimate authority is critical for improving the situation of the people in Gaza," Mogherini said adding that the EU is also ready to support on-going efforts to ensure progress, including by redeploying its border assistance mission, EUBAM Rafah, if the parties invite the EU to do so.

"While we continue to promote the vision of a two-state solution, oppose the settlement activity, illegal under international law, and provide a clear political horizon for solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, we also must join forces to achieve this goal," Mogherini said reiterating that it is time for Palestinians and Israelis to engage more than ever with the international community.

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