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EU ready to ‘play role’ in pushing Israeli-Palestinian talks

Foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini says ‘sense of urgency’ is growing in the absence of diplomacy

European foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini (C) speaks during a debate on the recognition of Palestinian statehood, on November 26, 2014 at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, eastern France. (photo credit: AFP/FREDERICK FLORIN)
European foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini (C) speaks during a debate on the recognition of Palestinian statehood, on November 26, 2014 at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, eastern France. (photo credit: AFP/FREDERICK FLORIN)

STRASBOURG, France — New EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini called on Israel and the Palestinians Wednesday to resume direct peace talks, as the European Parliament debated whether to recognize a Palestinian state.

“The sense of urgency is getting higher and higher in the absence of a political context,” Mogherini told lawmakers at the start of what she said was a “timely” debate.

“There has to be a direct dialogue.”

The former Italian foreign minister, who has taken over as diplomatic chief of the 28-nation European Union, said the bloc was ready to “play a role” in moving the peace process forward.

She also reiterated her support for a two-state solution to resolve the crisis.

MEPs will hold a symbolic vote in December, following resolutions passed by the British and Spanish parliaments, and an official decision to recognize Palestine by the Swedish government.

France’s National Assembly is set to vote on a non-binding resolution on December 2.

Brokered by the US, Israeli-Palestinian peace talks restarted in July 2013 but collapsed in April, with tensions and violence mounting again dramatically in recent weeks.

The European Parliament was initially due to vote on Thursday on the motion to recognize a Palestinian state but it was postponed until December at the last minute.

There has been international alarm over a spate of deadly terror attacks carried out by Palestinians inside Israel along with rioting in East Jerusalem and the deadlock over peace talks that are fueling fear of another flareup after the Israel-Hamas war earlier this year.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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