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U.S. Mideast plan out of internationally agreed parameters: EU members of Security Council

UNITED NATIONS, Feb. 11 (Xinhua) — The newly released U.S. Middle East peace plan departs from internationally agreed parameters concerning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, said the four EU members of the UN Security Council — Belgium, Estonia, France and Germany — plus Poland, which has just left the council.

“In line with the long-standing EU position, we remain committed to a negotiated two-state solution, based on 1967 lines, with equivalent land swaps, as may be agreed between the parties, with the state of Israel and an independent, democratic, contiguous, sovereign and viable state of Palestine, living side by side in peace, security and mutual recognition,” said a joint statement of the five countries.

“The U.S. initiative, as presented on Jan. 28, departs from these internationally agreed parameters.”

The U.S. plan, contrary to UN Security Council and General Assembly resolutions, recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s “undivided capital.” The U.S. plan was immediately rejected by Palestine and the Arab world.

The five EU countries on Tuesday reaffirmed their readiness to work toward the resumption of direct negotiations between the two parties to resolve all final-status issues, including issues related to borders, the status of Jerusalem, security and the refugee question, with the aim of building a just and lasting peace, said the joint statement, which was read out to reporters by Belgian Foreign and Defense Minister Philippe Goffin, who was flanked by representatives of the other four countries.

“We call on both sides to exercise restraint and abstain from any unilateral actions contrary to international law and to re-engage in negotiations. We condemn all acts of violence against civilians, including acts of terror, as well as acts of provocation, incitement and destruction,” said the statement.

“We reaffirm our concern about Israel’s settlement activity in the occupied Palestinian territory, which is illegal under international law and constitutes an obstacle to peace and a two-state solution. We are also deeply concerned about potential steps toward annexation after repeated calls for a possible annexation of areas in the West Bank. The annexation of any part of the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, constitutes a breach of international law, undermines the viability of the two-state solution and challenges the prospects for just, comprehensive and lasting peace. In line with international law and relevant UN Security Council resolutions, we do not recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the territories occupied since 1967.”

The five EU countries said they will continue to engage with the parties and relevant stakeholders to revive a political process in line with international law, which ensures equal rights and which is acceptable to both parties.

They also reiterated their commitment to the security of Israel, including with regard to current and emerging threats in the region.

The joint statement was released ahead of a Security Council meeting on the U.S. Middle East peace plan.

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