Abbas urges EU to recognise Palestinian state
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Last Updated: Tuesday, December 14, 2010, 12:35
Ramallah: Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas Tuesday urged the European Union to move towards recognition of a Palestinian state, in a call to the bloc's top diplomat.

"(Catherine) Ashton spoke today with president Abbas who called on the EU to take a step towards recognition of the state of Palestine based on the 1967 borders," chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat told AFP.

"We hope that the European Union will take this step to maintain the requirements for the success of the peace process, which was thwarted by Israel," added Erakat, who issued his own appeal to the EU earlier today.

Erakat's demands were laid out in a letter addressed to Ashton, who is presiding over a meeting of foreign policy chiefs in Brussels, a copy of which was seen by AFP.

EU diplomats were expected to issue a statement later today reaffirming their readiness to recognise a Palestinian state at an "appropriate" time, after the collapse of direct peace talks over the issue of Israeli settlement construction.

In his letter, Erakat "affirmed the need for an EU recognition of two states along the 1967 borders and to oblige the Israeli government to completely halt settlement activity, including in east Jerusalem."

Erakat said that "such a step by the European Union would provide protection for the principle of two states as well as for the peace process," which ran aground last week after Washington admitted failure to secure a new Israeli settlement freeze, thereby ending direct talks.

The draft EU statement, a copy of which was seen by AFP, said the bloc "reiterates its readiness, when appropriate, to recognise a Palestinian state," but stressed it will not recognise any changes to the pre-1967 borders that are not agreed between the parties.

Bureau Report

First Published: Tuesday, December 14, 2010, 12:35

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