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Candles but no Iran scuttlebutt as Ashton marks Hanukkah

EU foreign policy chief wishes Jews a happy holiday, calls for peace and freedom for both Israelis and Palestinians

Cathrine Ashton lighting Hanukkah candles at an annual event in Brussels, Belgium, Wednesday, November 27, 2013 (photo credit: official)
Cathrine Ashton lighting Hanukkah candles at an annual event in Brussels, Belgium, Wednesday, November 27, 2013 (photo credit: official)

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton remained mum on the recent Iran accord she helped broker while lighting Hanukkah candles with a Jewish group in Brussels Wednesday.

Ashton, who was the head Western negotiator during talks with Iran over its nuclear program in Geneva last week, declined to discuss the interim deal with Tehran while lighting candles with the European Jewish Community Center, where she was the guest of honor.

Ashton did, however, comment on the Israeli-Palestinian political process and stressed that both sides have an equal right to security and freedom.

“It is necessary to provide peace and freedom for all peoples,” Ashton said. “Peace cannot be achieved without security, but security cannot be achieved without peace.”

Ashton said she had recently spoken with Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni on the matter.

The European Jewish Community Center, a member organization of the European Jewish Association in the European Commission, holds a Hanukkah event every year.

At the Brussels event, Ashton wished the Jewish people a happy holiday, and lit candles in accordance with Jewish custom.

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