European Union foreign policy chief
Catherine Ashton made a statement later Friday night, welcoming the decision by Israel and the Palestinians to resume direct negotiations, Xinhua reported.
"This decision by the parties to engage in substantive talks represents a major step on the road towards a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the region, something I am hopeful we can now achieve," said Ashton, high representative of the union for foreign affairs and security policy.
Ashton commend U.S. President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Senator George Mitchell for their hard work and determination to bring the Israelis and Palestinians to the negotiating table.
"I want to also credit my Quartet partners and Quartet Envoy Tony Blair and I would like to thank all of the EU member states for their support of this process," the high representative said, while stressing the importance of the positive outcome of the Arab League Foreign Ministers meeting of July 29.
As a member of the Quartet, and on behalf of the EU, Ashton said she would continue to work with the parties to support the negotiations, striving for a two-state solution with the State of Israel and an independent, democratic, contiguous and viable State of Palestine, living side by side in peace and security with each other and their neighbors.
"The parties must work fast and hard on all the final status issues to meet the Quartet's call for a negotiated settlement within one year," Ashton urged in the statement.