Catherine Ashton, the European Union's top diplomat, said Monday that "recent Israeli decisions to build new housing units in East Jerusalem have endangered and undermined the tentative agreement to begin proximity talks, in a speech delivered to the Arab League in Cairo, DPA reported.
"We have a firm commitment to the security of Israel and we stand up for a deal that delivers justice, freedom, and dignity to the Palestinians," the newly chosen EU's foreign policy chief said.
But, "the European Union's position on settlements is clear. Settlements are illegal, constitute an obstacle to peace, and threaten to make a two state solution impossible, a solution that the Israeli Prime Minister says he supports," she said.
Ashton arrived late Sunday for a visit to the region that will include Israel and the Palestinian territories.
"The primary purpose of my visit is to show the continued importance that the EU attaches to the resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict," Ashton added.