EU opposes Palestinian intentions to declare independent state
The European Union on Tuesday joined the Obama administration in discouraging Palestinian intentions to seek global recognition of an independent state, calling instead a return to peace talks with Israel. "I don't think we are there yet," Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt told reporters in Brussels.
"I would hope that we would be in a position to recognise a Palestinian state but there has to be one first, so I think it is somewhat premature," he said, according to AFP.
On Monday chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat said the Palestinian Authority had formally asked the EU for support.
On his part, EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner conveyed the priority now should be "to really help the Americans bring both sides again to the table."
French President Nicolas Sarkozy also warned that the sides faced an extremist backlash each day they delay resuming talks. "The priority is to restart as soon as possible the peace process," Sarkozy told the Saudi daily Al-Riyad ahead of his talks with Saudi leaders. "It is urgent because the current deadlock is the hands of extremists and each day the chance of peace is slipping away a little," he said. "The deadlock in which we find ourselves today is extremely worrying.