Israeli settlement building "particularly" worrying, EU says

Israel Materials 24 January 2012 01:15 (UTC +04:00)

Israel's continued settlement building on occupied Palestinian land last year was "particularly" worrying, European Union foreign ministers said Monday, dpa reported.

"Against the backdrop of worrying developments on the ground in 2011, particularly with regards to settlements, the EU reaffirms its commitment to a two-state solution," ministers said in a joint statement after a meeting in Brussels.

Palestinians have refused to re-engage in peace talks with the Israelis over their refusal to stop building over the West Bank. But this month, the two sides entered into Jordan-brokered talks about a resumption of direct peace talks.

Ministers said the EU "welcomes the efforts by Jordan" and urged the Palestinians and the Israelis "to come forward with comprehensive proposals on borders and security" as called for by the Quartet - the international panel comprising the EU, the United States, the United Nations and Russia.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said she would travel to the Middle East and meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Liebermann from the Israeli side, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.

Her visit, from Tuesday to Thursday, will also include a stop in the Gaza Strip, EU officials told dpa.