Resuming Palestinian-Israeli talks to assist in resolving Jewish settlement problem: EU Special Representative to Middle East
Azerbaijan, Baku, Oct. 12 / Trend , U.Sadikhova/
Resuming the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations will also entail a solution to the Jewish settlement problem, believes Marc Otte, the EU Representative to Middle East.
"The [Jewish] settlements are illegal under international law and must be stopped immediately. This applies also to East Jerusalem," Otte said in his interview with Trend .
Resuming the negotiations and tackling the issue of borders would also entail a solution to the Jewish settlement problem, he said.
The differences around the expansion of the Jewish settlements remain a stumbling block to the resumption of the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations, which were suspended a year ago.
Despite the demands of the U.S., EU and Arab countries to stop a settlement activity, Israel is planning to construct new buildings in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which is a disputed territory in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
In early September, the Israeli authorities permitted to build over 450 new homes in the West Bank.
In late summer, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu suggested freezing the program of the settlement expansion for few months, but the proposal excluded the territory of East Jerusalem, as well as the already approved projects for construction of residential houses.
Administration of the Palestinian Leader, Mahmoud Abbas and the Arab League refused to negotiate with Israel until the problem of settlements is solved.
The EU would like to see the peace talks resume as soon as possible in a clearly defined framework which will also enable to solve the settlement problem, Otte said. "There should be a clear negotiation framework including all final status issues as previously defined by the parties and a strong American mediation."
Otte added that 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
Total number of settlers in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, reaches 0.5 million and number of settlements is 121, RIA Novosti reported.