Abbas urges more EU involvement in Mideast peace process

09:50, January 07, 2011      

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Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad (R) talks with European Union Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton during a tour after their meeting at Al Masyon neighbourhood in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Jan. 6, 2011. (Xinhua/Fadi Arouri)

Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday urged the European Union to play a bigger role in reviving the peace process in the Middle East.

The EU's role in the peace process should be added to its already "distinguished role in supporting the Palestinian National Authority economically," Abbas said after he met Catherine Ashton, the EU foreign policy chief, in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

Israel's refusal to freeze settlement activities has led to the breakdown of the negotiations in September, he said.

Meanwhile, Ashton reaffirmed the EU's commitment to pushing the peace process forward and also commitment to the EU stance regarding the peace talks and the future Palestinian state.

The latest statement by the EU in December said it will recognize a Palestinian state "when appropriate." It has also called for resuming peace talks and urged Israel to stop building settlements in the occupied Palestinian lands.

Earlier, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad accompanied Ashton to a hill overlooking Israel's separation barrier that Israel said it built through the West Bank to prevent Palestinian militants from reaching Israeli communities.

Fayyad noted "the difficulties" that the wall caused to the life of Palestinians.

The view of a G area is visible from the hill. G areas which make nearly 60 percent of the West Bank are under Israeli security and administrative control. "This means we cannot develop or build without passing through very complicated Israeli measures," Fayyad told reporters.

Source: Xinhua

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