Barroso to raise West Bank settlements with Israel
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said Sunday he will raise the issue of Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories with Israeli leaders when he meets them in the next two days, dpa reported.
In a news conference in Ramallah after meeting Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, Barroso reiterated the European Union's position on settlements - which it considers illegal under international law and an obstacle to peace.
He said he would raise the issue with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a meeting in Jerusalem scheduled for Monday.
He avoided answering whether if the EU would support a United Nations Human Rights Council fact-finding mission to investigate the effects of Israeli settlements on Palestinian life.
Barroso started a three-day visit to the Palestinian territories and Israel Sunday. He is also scheduled to meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas Monday, and inaugurate an EU-funded police academy in Jericho.
Barroso, who described his meeting with Fayyad as "productive and fruitful," called on Palestinians and Israelis to avoid measures that may undermine efforts to "implement the two-state solution" and "the establishment of an independent Palestinian state."
He called on both sides "to support confidence-building measures."
Barroso said the EU had supported Palestinian state-building efforts with over 300 million euros last year and would continue to do so in the future.
Fayyad said the Palestinian Authority was facing "a very serious" and "severe" financial crisis, which he blamed on the failure of donor countries to make their pledged contributions in time or on not making any at all.