EU’s Borell speaks with FM Ashkenazi, statement does not mention annexation

The European Union’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, speaks with Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, but somewhat surprisingly does not highlight the bloc’s vociferous opposition to Israel’s planned West Bank annexation.

A readout of the conversation provided by Borrell’s office quotes him stressing the EU’s wish to “continue working with the new Israeli government in a constructive and comprehensive way, in the spirit of the longstanding friendship that binds the EU and Israel together.”

Ashkenazi and Borrell had “an honest and open exchange of views on a broad range of bilateral and regional issues,” the readout says, without elaborating.

The EU’s foreign policy czar “underlined the EU’s unequivocal commitment to the security of the State of Israel, which is not negotiable for the EU” and reaffirmed the union’s intention to “address jointly issues of mutual interest and concern and to work with Israel to promote global peace and security and to contribute to building trust, in particular in the region and the immediate neighborhood.”

The readout does not mention explicitly the Israeli government’s supposed plan to apply sovereignty over the entire Jordan Valley and all settlements across the West Bank. The obvious omission is noteworthy because Borrell in recent weeks released several statements condemning the annexation plans. Last week, the Foreign Ministry slammed Borrell’s “megaphone diplomacy.”

— Raphal Ahren

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