EU foreign ministers approve resolution backing French peace initiative

(JTA) – The foreign ministers of the 28 European Union (EU) member countries approved a resolution backing the French peace initiative and agreed to provide economic incentives to promote the agreement.

On Monday, the EU’s Foreign Affairs Council adopted the resolution in Brussels and reiterated its support for “a just, sustainable and comprehensive resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and peace and stability in the region.”

“The EU is determined, alongside other international and regional partners, to bring a concrete and substantial contribution to a global set of incentives for the parties to make peace with a view to an international conference planned to be held before the end of the year,” the foreign ministers said in a statement issued after passing the resolution.

The incentives are believed to extend to political, economic and security assistance, which has been offered by the body in the past.

Both the Israelis and Palestinians “need to demonstrate, through policies and actions, a genuine commitment to a peaceful solution in order to rebuild mutual trust and create conditions for direct and meaningful negotiations aiming at ending the occupation that began in 1967, and resolving all permanent status issues,” the ministers also said.

Foreign ministers from two dozen countries gathered earlier this month in Paris to kick off the French peace initiative with a one-day summit to reboot peace talks between the Israelis and Palestinians, who were not invited to the event. The ministers proposed an international conference to further talks between the two sides by the end of the year, but did not set a date for such a conference.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry rejected the call for the peace initiative, calling it “an unfortunate step that pushes back efforts to provide the peace that Israel needs.”

“International conferences like those that the European Union’s foreign minister welcomed today push peace farther away because they enable the Palestinians to continue to avoid direct talks and compromise,” the ministry said in a statement.

Also Monday, EU Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini confirmed that a report on the stalled peace talks compiled by the Middle East Quartet, which is expected to be critical of Israel, will be released in the coming days. The European Union is a member of the Quartet, which also is comprised of the United States, Russia and the United Nations.

Meanwhile, according to unconfirmed reports, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry are set to meet in the coming days.

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