THE EUROPEAN UNION
Brussels, 18 December 2009
17698/09 (Presse 385)
The European Union expresses its disapproval of the decision of the Government of Israel on 13 December to include settlements in the National Priority Areas program. The decision runs counter to the spirit of the settlement freeze, of which Ministers have taken positive note, as a first step in the right direction, in the recent conclusions of the Foreign Affairs Council. It also prevents the creation of an atmosphere conducive to resuming negotiations on a two-state solution. The European Union encourages Israel instead to continue along the path set forth by the moratorium.
The European Union reiterates that settlements on occupied land are illegal under international law. The European Union urges the Government of Israel to immediately end all settlement activities.
The European Union again calls for the urgent resumption of negotiations that will lead, within an agreed time-frame, to a two-state solution with the State of Israel and an independent, democratic, contiguous and viable State of Palestine, living side by side in peace and security.
The Candidate Countries Turkey, Croatia* and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, and the EFTA countries Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, members of the European Economic Area, as well as Azerbaijan align themselves with this declaration.
* Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.
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