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Europe

Israel's Neighbors Want Progress on Peace Talks

At a meeting in Jordan, Mediterranean countries urged Israel and Palestine to work through differences over issues such as the expansion of Israeli settlements and the restrictions of movement of Palestinians.

Graphic with Israel and Palestine flags

Settlements and freedom of movement remain key issues, said Pottering

The Euro-Med Parliamentary Assembly (EMPA) ended a two-day session Monday, Oct. 13, at the Dead Sea resort in Amman by urging continuation of peace talks between Israel and Palestine.

President of the European Union Hans-Gert Pottering, who also serves as president-in-office of EMPA, called for speedy solutions to two issues that hinder the peace negotiations: "the expansion of settlements, which is undermining the Palestinians' confidence" in the peace process, and "the extremely restricted freedom of movement of Palestinians," which has hindered investment in the Palestinian economy and prevented economic recovery.

Worries of fading interest

Given that EMPA countries provide 60 percent of all aid to the Palestinians, Pottering warned of the need to prevent donors being overcome by "a certain fatigue, or lack of interest in the fate of the Palestinians."

He said that it was "unacceptable that the fruits of financial solidarity should be wiped out as a result of military operations or for security reasons, however legitimate they may be."

The EMPA meeting asked Euro-Med foreign ministers to officially recognize EMPA as the "democratically legitimized parliamentary institution" of the Union for the Mediterranean, which was launched in July in Paris by French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

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