EU presses Israel on Mideast peace

March 7, 2013 at 11:12 AM
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BRUSSELS, March 7 (UPI) -- Israel is a partner to the European Union, though it must remain committed to honoring Palestinian aspirations, European Commission President Jose Barroso said.

Israeli President Shimon Peres arrived Thursday in Brussels to meet with European Barroso, who said that, following January elections in Israel, the European community anticipated a strong partnership with a new government.

"The European Union expects the formation of a broad and stable government coalition, committed to develop its relations with Europe and to a negotiated settlement for the Middle East peace process," Barroso said.

Peres was quoted by The Jerusalem Post as questioning the European stance on regional issues given the history of conflict.

"Israel was established 65 years ago, and since then has gone through seven wars," he said. "I don't know another country that has withstood that degree of danger and paid such a high price in life."

Barroso said that while Israel deserves the right to security within its own borders, Palestinian aspirations of statehood must be fulfilled.

"The European Union remains firmly attached to a two-state-solution," he said in a statement. "We therefore encourage both sides to support and implement confidence building measures that allow the peace process to move forward."

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