EU Foreign Council adopts French peace initiative

Foreign Ministers back French initiative; Israel’s Foreign Ministry reiterates direct negotiations as only means of resumption of peace talks; Rivlin in Brussels, to address EU Parliament Wednesday

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The European Union’s Foreign Council adopted a resolution Monday supporting the French peace initiative aimed at the resumption of peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, despite Israel’s consistent stance on direct negotiations with the Palestinians.

The Council announced on Monday that it “welcomes the Joint Communiqué on the Middle East peace initiative adopted at the Ministerial meeting in Paris on 3 June 2016. The Council reiterates its support for a just, sustainable and comprehensive resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and peace and stability in the region… The EU is determined, alongside other international and regional partners, to bring a concrete and substantial contribution to a global set of incentives for the parties to make peace,” the statement went on to say. The Council also reaffirms the European proposal… of an unprecedented package of political, economic and security support to be offered to, and developed with, both parties in the context of a final status agreement.”

Following a meeting with Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin who is currently in Brussels, European Council President Donald Tusk confirmed Tuesday that the European Union “is ready back up a peace deal with an unprecedented package of cooperation and support to both sides,” stating that “a lasting peace in the region has been made a top priority for the European community, we continue to work with both sides and to coordinate with the partners in the Middle East in order to support the ‘two state solution.”

Israel has been clear that resumption of peace talks is only possible through bilateral, direct negations between the State of Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs responded the EU Foreign Council stating “Peace with the Palestinians will only be achieved through direct, bilateral negotiations with no preconditions. International conferences like the one welcomed by the European Council today drive peace further away by allowing the Palestinians to continue avoiding both direct negotiations and compromise. This is a regrettable step backwards in the pursuit of peace to which Israel remains fully committed.”