EU, Arab League affirm unified vision for peace

PNN / Bethlehem

Foreign ministers from 28 EU members states met with a delegation of Arab foreign ministers on Tuesday to discuss the renewed peace initiative for Palestine, heralding the meeting as a ‘full convergence of purpose.’

The delegation, which include foreign ministers from Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco the United Arab Emirates and the Palestinian Authority, met with their EU counterparts to discuss the prospect for peace in the wake of the recognition by U.S President Donald Trump of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

‘First and foremost (we have met), on the need to preserve the horizon of two states as the only viable one, with Jerusalem the capital of both the state of Israel and the state of Palestine,’ said European Union foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, in a press conference after the meeting.

‘We have decided to coordinate our positions, our actions and it was a very clear commonality, as I said, of analysis but also of perspectives.’

Mogherini highlighted fears shared by both the EU and the League of Arab States concerning the recent political manoeuvres of the United States ahead of the release of their renewed peace plan, dubbed the ‘ultimate deal’, expected to be released in the coming months.

‘We have also shared a lot of concerns about the situation currently on the ground’ she said. ‘The decisions by the US administration to move the embassy to Jerusalem and the current state of the financing of the UNRWA [United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East] is something that worries us and our Arab friends equally.’

The decision made by the President last December drew immense ire from the international community for its detriment to the peace process between Palestine and Israel which had previously been based on the precondition that Jerusalem would serve as the capital of Israel and as the capital of the future state of Palestine.

The city’s special status in entombed in international law.

The United Nations General Assembly voted overwhelmingly in favour of rejecting President Trump’s decision, with 128 nations voting in favour, and only 9 voting against the resolution – with another 35 abstaining.

In recent months, the European Union has voiced its desire to seek a greater involvement in the process.

Earlier this month, an ad-hoc meeting with the donor states to the Palestinian cause met to reinstate their commitment to the two-state solution as the only means towards lasting peace.

At that conference, Mogherini called on individual member states to take a greater role in the peace process. It was the Ad-Hoc meeting that was responsible for the organisation of Tuesday’s meeting.

Since the announcement by Donald Trump last December, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has made repeated attempts to elicit support from the international community in light of perceived pro-Israeli bias under the U.S lead peace initiative.

Abbas has been reported to be attempting to ‘internationalise’ the process by seeking broader international engagement.

The process is similar to that which negotiated the 2015 Nuclear Deal with Iran in which a deal was struck between the P5+1 – the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, plus Germany – and the Islamic Republic.