U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has put his political capital in the region behind a renewed effort to find a way to settle a crisis befuddling policymakers at least since the 1960s.
Israeli newspaper Haaretz this week reported U.S. President Barack Obama sent each side of the Israeli-Palestinian debate a letter outlining the U.S. position. It said the starting point for peace talks should be the prevailing borders before the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, adjusted with mutually agreed land swaps to account for Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
Ashton said in a statement that the European Union was putting its full diplomatic weight behind Kerry's efforts, which she said was a "crucial first step" in securing a long-term peace deal.
"I firmly believe that a final end to this conflict is within reach," Ashton said Wednesday. "I call on all those who wish to see a negotiated solution to support those now engaged in talks so that the opportunity for peace can be seized."