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I was particularly glad to welcome again my friend President Abbas to Brussels for a very fruitful and open exchange on our views both on our bilateral relations, as you know the European Union is a strong supporter to the Palestinian Authority, but also our views on the Middle East Peace Process in a time that requires a strong coordination, a strong unity of the parties, the region and the international community.
I expressed to the President what I had the chance to express recently both here in Brussels and in other parts of the world -that first of all peace between Israel and Palestine is a top priority for the European Union and it will remain a top priority in our political agenda. We remain committed to a negotiated two-state solution that remains for us the only viable way to end the conflict and all claims. Our EU policy on this has not changed. We recognise changes to the pre-1967 borders, including with regard to Jerusalem, only when agreed by the parties. Our position on Jerusalem as future capital of both states has not changed and we support Palestinian presence in East Jerusalem, both in political and financial terms.
I re-expressed to the President what I often express publicly, also recently, the strong European Union’s opposition to the Israeli settlement policy and demolitions of Palestinian-owned structures. The European Union considers settlements to be illegal under international law and this also has not changed in our policy.
We also discussed the changing international political environment. We exchanged views and feedbacks we had, especially from our recent contacts with the new US administration. I was in Washington exactly one week ago; the President had an important telephone call with President [of the United States, Donald] Trump. And we – at least, I can speak for the European Union but I am sure that I reflect also the President’s view in this respect – welcome the fact that the US administration shows interest in solving the Middle East Peace Process. We agreed to coordinate closely positions, including tomorrow and the day after tomorrow, when I will have the honour to be at the Summit of the Arab League where again we will discuss our common position between the European Union and the League of Arab States on many different issues, including the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
I would like to thank President Abbas not only for his visit here but also for the constant channel of contacts we have open and for an excellent cooperation.
I would also like to thank his leadership and his commitment when it comes to non-violence, when it comes to the difficult work he is doing against incitement and also of maintaining the Palestinian people, and especially the Palestinian youth, committed to peace and to cooperation in the region. I think and I acknowledge that this is a challenging task, especially with the deteriorating political and economic situation. I reassured him and his entire delegation of the fact that the European Union is and will continue to be at his side, in trying to improve day-by-day the living conditions and the perspectives of his people.
I really would like to thank you for this and say goodbye for a very short period of time, because tomorrow again we will be together again in Jordan for the Summit of the Arab League.