EU: Current violence should ‘push both parties to work together’
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EU: Current violence should ‘push both parties to work together’

Federica Mogherini, in calls to Abbas and Netanyahu, says only way to stop tensions is to ‘quickly restart a credible political process’

Raphael Ahren is the diplomatic correspondent at The Times of Israel.

European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini shakes hands with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas during their meeting in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Wednesday, May 20, 2015 (AP/Majdi Mohammed)
European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini shakes hands with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas during their meeting in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Wednesday, May 20, 2015 (AP/Majdi Mohammed)

The European Union called on Israeli and Palestinian leaders to return to final status negotiations Sunday, arguing that spiking violence and tensions should not dim but instead strengthen the prospects of a peace agreement.

The union’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, on Sunday evening held separate phone calls with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to discuss the “escalation of violence,” according to a statement from her office.

“Far from preventing the resumption of a political dialogue, the latest tensions should push both parties to work together for the sake of their people,” Mogherini insisted in her calls with the two leaders.

She also emphasized “the need to promote calm, encourage restraint and avoid actions which would fuel the tensions even further,” the statement read. “Too many people have died already and too many families were left bereaved.”

Abbas told her that he is committed to the keeping “the situation under control,” while Netanyahu reiterated that Israel has no intention of changing the status quo at the Temple Mount.

The only way to halt the violence is “quickly restart a credible political process,” Mogherini was quoted telling Netanyahu and Abbas. “The immediate priority is for the parties to agree on substantial steps which would improve the situation on the ground and build a path back to final status negotiations. A negotiated two state solution is the only way to bring the lasting peace and security that both Israelis and Palestinians deserve.”

She also condemned acts of terror against civilians, calling for any reaction to such acts to be “proportionate.”

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini (left) meets with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in New York, September 30, 2015. (Courtesy PMO)
EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini (left) meets with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in New York, September 30, 2015. (Courtesy PMO)

Both Abbas and Netanyahu told Mogherini that they’re willing to implement the provisions agreed at a meeting of the Middle East Quartet in New York late last month.

It is unclear what exactly these provisions are, but after their September 30 meeting, top representatives of the Quartet — Mogherini, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, and US Secretary of State John Kerry — issued a statement of principles.

It reaffirmed the group’s commitment to achieving a two-state solution that would meet Israeli security requirements and answer Palestinian aspirations for statehood.

“The Quartet underscored that the status quo is not sustainable and stressed the importance of both sides’ demonstrating, through policies and actions, a genuine commitment to a two-State solution in order to rebuild trust and avoid a cycle of escalation,” the statement read.

It further called for “concrete and significant steps that will help stabilize the situation, reverse current trends by showing meaningful progress towards creating a two-State reality on the ground and restore hope among Palestinians and Israelis that a negotiated peace is possible.”

Representatives of the Quartet are due in the region Wednesday to further discuss the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with the parties involved and other stakeholders, such as Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the Arab League.

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