BRUSSELS, May 14, 2012 (WAFA) - The European Union (EU) welcomed the exchange of letters between President Mahmoud Abbas and the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and encouraged the parties to continue on this path, Monday said a press release by the EU Council.
The EU Foreign Affairs Council published its conclusions on the Middle East Peace Process, strongly urging both the Palestinian and Israeli sides to build on the current contacts, including the Joint Statement of 12 May and following the Quartet efforts facilitated by Jordan, to resume direct negotiations on the basis of the Quartet statement of 23 September 2011.
The EU expresses deep concern over developments on the ground that may threaten the viability of a two-state solution, including the marked acceleration of construction and legalization of Israeli settlements in the Palestinian Territory, the worsening living conditions of the Palestinian population in Area ‘C’, and the risk of jeopardizing major achievements of PA in state-building due to the Palestinian financial crisis.
In addition, the EU expressed concern over the current situation in East Jerusalem, such as the ongoing evictions and house demolitions, the changes to the residency status of Palestinians, the expansion of Givat Hamatos and Har Homa settlements, and the prevention of peaceful Palestinian cultural, economic, social or political activities in the city.
The EU condemned the continuous settler violence and deliberate provocations against Palestinian civilians in the West Bank and called on the government of Israel to bring the perpetrators to justice and to comply with its obligations under international law.
The press release added that EU is concerned about recent reports of arrests of journalists and underlines the importance of freedom of expression, including via traditional and new media.