EU supports resuming of Palestinian-Israeli talks: EU Special Representative to Middle East (INTERVIEW)
Azerbaijan, Baku, Oct. 12 / Trend , U.Sadikhova/
EU Special Representative to Middle East, Marc Otte spoke with Trend Middle East Desk in an exclusive interview.
Trend : What steps does the EU intend to take in order to move forward the peace process between Palestinians and Israelis, considering the reject of Israel to freeze settlement activity?
Marc Otte: The EU is supporting the US efforts in coordination with Arab countries to resume negotiations between the two parties as soon as possible. It is important not to loose more time talking about preliminaries, but to get back to the negotiation table. The EU holds the view that there should be a clear negotiation framework including all final status issues as previously defined by the parties and a strong American mediation. At the same time, the EU favors a regional approach, meaning that multilateral talks on issues of common interest like water, regional security etc. should go hand in hand with the bilateral talks. The EU is ready to play an important role here. Last, but not least, the EU is working on ideas how to help the parties implement a future agreement by making meaningful, but at the same time realistic contributions.
Q: How does the EU plan to work towards Israel on the expansion of Jewish settlement which Brussels set as illegal?
A: The EU's position on this has been very clear: settlements are illegal under international law and must be stopped immediately. This applies also to East Jerusalem We believe that resuming the negotiations and tackling the issue of borders would also entail a solution to the settlement problem. Therefore the EU would like to see the peace talks resume as soon as possible in a clearly defined framework
Q: Does the EU intend to participate in security enhancement in Iraq after the withdrawal of international forces?
A: The EU will continue the support the Iraqi people and the Iraqi government. The EU is assisting Iraq in many sectors including the rule of law area according to Iraqi priorities. The EU integrated Rule of Law Mission is actively involved in capacity building in Iraq and will continue its training programmes.
Q: What will be the EU further steps in improving relationship with Syria? Does the EU have any plans to expand the economical and political cooperation with Damascus regarding the developments in the region?
A: The EU is interested in close ties with all countries in the Middle East, including Syria which we would like to see assuming the role of a responsible and constructive partner in the region. We have accomplished the work on the EU-Syrian Association Agreement and it should be ready for signature in the near future. Our goal is to reach a comprehensive solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict and show to every player in the region the benefits of achieving peace and stability.