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EU reiterates call for end to Israeli settlements


Berlin : The European Union reaffirmed its call for an end to the construction of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, German news reports said here Tuesday.

It is absolutely important that the building of settlements stops, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana was quoted saying at a meeting of the Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly in Brussels, Belgium.

Israel has repeatedly ignored demands by the international community to halt the expansion of settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Meanwhile, Solana called on Israel on Monday to remain committed to a two-state solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

He warned Israel’s prime minister-designate, Benjamin Netanyahu, against forming a government that does no longer believe in a two-state settlement of the Middle East conflict.

“We are ready to do business as usual normally with a government of Israel that is prepared to continue talking and will keep working for a two-state solution,” Solana said.

“If this is not the case, the solution would be different,” he added.

Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party signed Sunday evening a coalition agreement with the ultra-nationalist Israel Beiteinu party of Avigdor Lieberman, who would be Israel’s next foreign minister in such a coalition government.

Lieberman has faced international criticism for his racist views against Arabs during the recent Israeli election campaign.

Netanyahu and Liebermann have both supported the overthrow of the democratically-elected Hamas government in Gaza which became the scene of Israeli massacres during the recent 22-day Israeli war.