Sunday

20th Oct 2019

Solana unveils Mid East plan

  • A push forward by Javier Solana (Photo: Irish EU Presidency)

EU high representative Javier Solana on Tuesday (1 November) unveiled a series of concrete measures to push forward the establishment of a Palestinian state.

During a meeting of Foreign Ministers in Brussels, Mr Solana presented a seven-page plan, obtained by the EUobserver, outlining the steps the EU can make to ensure a Palestinian state can be established.

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The paper outlines how the EU could help build an effective Palestinian security force, hold elections and continue reforms in the Palestinian Authority.

"The window for the two-state solution is closing fast", says the paper, recommending that the EU present a series of measures to the US administration soon after the elections.

The paper represents a bid to inject some momentum into the Middle East Peace Process, which has been moribund since the launch of the EU-backed Roadmap.

Speaking to the press on Tuesday, Mr Solana said he hoped the paper would help the Roadmap – drafted by the EU, US Russia and the UN – be implemented in "a less incremental manner".

The document comes as the Israeli government moves to withdraw from Gaza.

Some in Brussels fear the withdrawal - although welcomed - is being used to dictate the pace of the wider process.

The paper focuses, along with the Egyptian government on assisting the Palestinian police force, however a more robust role should not been ruled out according to one aide.

Pushing forward

If adopted by EU leaders later this week, the paper would represent a substantial push on the EU’s part towards discussing the tough final status issues such as the status of Jerusalem, final borders and right to return.

According to Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos, there was unanimous support for the plan among ministers.

EU diplomats said they hoped elections in the Palestinian Authority, regardless of Yasser Arafat’s health, would press Israel to engage in talks.

One diplomat said after elections there would be "no doubt that interlocutors exist".

Ruling out talks with Yasser Arafat, Israel has repeatedly stated that there are no viable negotiators on the Palestinian side.

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