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EU urges Israel to reverse West Bank moves

AFP , Friday 18 Apr 2014
Ashton
uropean Union High Representative Catherine Ashton speaks to the media after a quadrilateral meeting between representatives of the United States, Ukraine, Russia and the European Union, about the ongoing situation in Ukraine, in Geneva April 17, 2014 (Photo: Reuters)
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EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton called on Israel Friday to reverse recent actions, such as announcing new settlements in the occupied West Bank, to bolster faltering peace talks.

Ashton viewed with "great concern" an Israeli decision to declare an area near the Gush Etzion settlement south of Bethlehem as state land and approval of a new Jewish settlement in the southern city of Hebron, a statement from her office said.

The continued demolition of Palestinian property and the confiscation of EU humanitarian aid were also worrying, Ashton added.

Earlier this month, an EU official said Israel had demolished several EU-funded humanitarian housing shelters in a highly sensitive strip of West Bank land near Jerusalem.

"The EU calls on the Israeli authorities to reverse these decisions," Ashton said.

Such events are "not conducive to the climate of trust and cooperation needed for the current peace negotiations to succeed," she added.

Ashton also said she "condemns the recent killing of an Israeli man in the West Bank and calls for an immediate end to all acts of violence".

All sides should "show utmost restraint and responsibility in order not to jeopardise the current negotiation process," she said.

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