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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

European Union decides to keep its mouth shut

At the European Union Foreign Ministers' meeting on Monday, the EU decided to issue a statement backing US Secretary of State John FN Kerry's efforts to start 'negotiations' between Israel and the 'Palestinians' rather than hurtling rapidly toward irrelevance by issuing their own condemnations of Israel's position.
After a meeting of the 27 EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton made clear that no resolutions on the Middle East would be issued, saying “We fully support the current efforts of the US in support of a resumption of direct negotiations, and we welcome very much the personal involvement and engagement of Secretary Kerry.”
Ashton, who was in Jerusalem and the region last week, said she reiterated during the foreign ministers meeting the importance of the Kerry initiative, “and the importance of our support for it.”
Kerry is scheduled to arrive back in the region on Thursday to push ahead with efforts to get Israel and the Palestinians back to negotiations. Jerusalem launched an intensive lobbying campaign last week to convince the EU countries that this was not the time to issue a detailed EU resolution on the Middle East that would be highly critical of Israel. It argued that this would undermine Kerry’s efforts, by giving the Palestinians the sense that if they rejected Kerry’s proposals to restart talks, they would get both an understanding ear and a better deal from the Europeans.
According to Israeli officials, this message was forcefully conveyed by Netanyahu to Ashton during their meeting last Thursday.
Ashton made clear, however, that while the EU foreign ministers did not issue a statement this time, “we will come back to this issue in July.” She said that Monday’s discussion “was about how we best support the process right now.”
What could go wrong?

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