Minister Linkevičius: We have much to discuss with Israel
On the initiative of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Linas Linkevičius, an informal meeting of EU Foreign Ministers with the Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu took place on 11 November in Brussels. This was the first meeting of the Israeli Prime Minister with heads of EU institutions and Foreign Ministers from EU member states after a 22-year break.
The meeting with the Prime Minister of Israel discussed the Middle East peace process, regional security, the EU-Israel bilateral relations, as well as how to deal with mounting tensions and protests against the U.S. President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel’s capital.
Lithuania’s Foreign Minister said that “there is a need for open and direct dialogue, and we have much to discuss with the Prime Minister of Israel. We need to listen to Israel and hear its arguments, especially those related to issues towards which positions differ, so that our [EU’s] role as a mediator could be more important than ever and so that we would be able to help Israel and Palestine sit down and negotiate.” Linkevičius also condemned terrorist attacks, suicide attacks, and Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel that had originated in the Gaza Strip. “Only direct talks between Palestine and Israel can help resolve the conflict,” said the head of Lithuania’s diplomacy.
EU Foreign Ministers reiterated the position that had already been agreed upon that peace could only be achieved through negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, and the two-state solution, while Jerusalem must be capital of both countries. EU Foreign Ministers also raised the issue of Jewish settlements, human rights and other issues. The Prime Minister Netanyahu has confirmed his readiness to hold direct talks with the Palestinians.
Today in Brussels, Linkevičius also attends the EU’s Foreign Affairs Council meeting. Foreign Ministers will discuss the situation in the Middle East region. In addition, they will discuss Africa in the context of the African Union - European Union summit with Development Cooperation Ministers.