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On the Middle East Peace Process, we made it clear that it is important to encourage the Israelis and the Palestinians to engage in a credible and meaningful political process.
We recognise that the United States’ plan created a certain momentum about a political process that had stopped for too long, and this momentum can be used to start joint international efforts on the basis of existing internationally-agreed parameters. We, from the European Union, stand ready to help and to facilitate such a process.
We were also clear about the consequences of a possible annexation for the prospects of a two-state solution, but also for regional stability. On that I think that many Member States were very clear about it.
Q: On annexation, did Secretary Pompeo give any indication that the United States is or will rein in Israeli plans to annex some Palestinian territory?
On the Middle East Peace Process, it is clear that it is important to encourage the Israelis and Palestinians to engage in a credible and meaningful political process. For us there is no other way than resuming talks.
We recognise the merit of the US plan because it has created a certain momentum where there was nothing, and I think this momentum can be used to start an international process. But this process, from the European side, has to be on the basis of existing internationally-agreed parameters. It is not a secret because it has been said in several EU statements, that the initial plan presented by the US does not respect these parameters. It is maybe a starting point for negotiations. Theoretically a negotiation does not finish at the same point it starts, because if not it would not be a negotiation, but an ultimatum.
Q. Ahead of the meeting, the German Foreign [Affairs] Minister, [Heiko Maas], said that he wanted to propose to [the United States Secretary of State, [Mike] Pompeo, to discuss all issues between Palestinians and Israelis in a new multilateral format. Has [Mike] Pompeo agreed to that proposal?
Mister Pompeo has not accepted nor refused anything. It was not a matter of accepting or refusing, it was a conversation. He was taking notes, he was answering in general, but we have not gone into negotiations. It was an exchange of views.
I am sure that he has been taking good notice of the things that different Member States have explained to him. Among them the German Foreign Minister [Heiko Maas], who has been very concrete, presenting proposals and insisting a lot on the need of preventing annexation, because it would not be without consequences. Mr Pompeo has been taking note of this point of view and of several others’. When you listen to Luxembourg and when you listen to Hungary, there are different points of view. And he noticed that there were different points of view among Member States. But, for sure, he has not said “I agree with that, I disagree with that. I accept this proposal, I refuse this proposal”. This was not the mood of the meeting.
Link to the video: https://audiovisual.ec.europa.eu/en/video/I-191991