EU's Borrell sees US 'fatigue' in Mideast

AFP , Tuesday 14 May 2024

The European Union's top diplomat has said that the United States is showing "fatigue" in its Middle East diplomacy and called for greater EU efforts toward a Palestinian state.

File photo: European Union s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell. AFP


On a visit to California, the bloc's foreign policy chief Josep Borrell again strongly criticized Israel's war campaign, saying Palestinians in Gaza were "dying and starving and suffering in unimaginable proportions" and that it was a "man-made disaster."

"I see a certain fatigue from the US side to continue engaging in looking for a solution," Borrell said in a speech Monday at Stanford University that was publicly released on Tuesday.

"We are trying to push with the Arab people in order to build together, the Arabs and Europeans, to make this two-state solution a reality," he said in English.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has made seven trips to the Middle East since Israel's war on Gaza began on 7 October.

He has nudged Israel to allow in more aid, pushed against a regional escalation and pleaded for Israel to accept a two-state solution as part of a broader eventual deal that includes normalization with Saudi Arabia.

But the United States vetoed a Security Council bid to give Palestine full UN membership, arguing that statehood can only come through negotiations that address Israel's security concerns.

The General Assembly last week passed a symbolic vote for Palestinian membership with the United States one of only nine countries to vote against.

The others opposed included two European Union members -- the Czech Republic and Hungary. Among EU heavyweights, France voted in favor and Germany abstained.

Borrell acknowledged that the vote showed the European Union was "very much divided" over Gaza, unlike on the Ukraine war, and cited "historical reasons."

"But it doesn't mean that we don't have to take a stronger part of responsibility because we have delegated (to) the US looking for a solution," he said.

Borrell, a former Spanish foreign minister, in February sharply criticized the US arms flow for Israel, pointing to President Joe Biden's own words that too many people were dying in Gaza.

Biden last week for the first time threatened to cut military aid to Israel, with one shipment of bombs already halted, if Israel defies US warnings and assaults the civilian-packed city of Rafah.

Seven months of Israeli bombardment and ground operations in Gaza have killed at least 35,173 Palestinians, most of them women and children, according to health officials.

*This story was edited by Ahram Online

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