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EU Urges Israel To Reverse Decision Approving New West Bank Settlements

European Union Foreign Policy chief Catherine Ashton called upon Israel to reverse its decision to approve three Jewish settlement outposts in the West Bank, describing the action as "illegal under international law, an obstacle to peace and threaten the viability of a two-state solution."

In a statement issued on Wednesday, the High Representative said she is "extremely concerned about the decision of the Israeli Authorities regarding the status of the settlements of Sansana, Rechelim and Bruchin in the occupied Palestinian territory."

The Bruchin and Rechelim settlements are in the northern part of the West Bank, and Sansana in the south.

The EU has repeatedly called on Israel to end all settlement activity. Ashton reminded the Israeli government that "such measures run counter to the spirit of the Quartet Statement of April 11, which expressed concern about unilateral and provocative actions, including continued settlement activity."

The Israelis and the Palestinians have yet to resume direct negotiations since talks stalled in September 2010, after Israel refused to extend its freeze on settlement activity in the occupied Palestinian territory.

Negotiators from both sides began preparatory talks at the start of January in Amman under the facilitation of King Abdullah II of Jordan and that country's Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh with a view to a resumption of direct talks.

Negotiators met again in Amman in early this month and agreed to an exchange of letters outlining their positions. Both the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have since continued to reiterate their desire to negotiate.

by RTT Staff Writer

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