EU urges US not to go it alone with Middle East peace efforts

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The European Union has urged the US not to act alone in any effort to make peace between Israel and the Palestinians, and warned that doing so would end in failure.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said: “Any framework for negotiations must be multilateral and must involve all players — all partners — that are essential to this process. A process without one or the other would simply not work, would simply not be realistic.

“Nothing without the United States, nothing with the United States alone.”

Her comments came at an emergency meeting of an international committee co-ordinating Palestinian development aid.

Government ministers from Israel and Egypt, as well as the Palestinian prime minister and a US senior official are attending the talks, to be chaired by Norway.

The meeting is the first of its kind since President Donald Trump recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, breaking with an international consensus that the holy city’s status should be resolved in negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

Ms Mogherini said this is a difficult moment for the region. She said that Wednesday’s meeting will focus on ways to promote a two-state solution to the conflict and expressed hopes that it “could be an element of facilitation for restoring some trust and a level of confidence”.

As the talks began, the EU announced a new funding package of 42.5 million euro (£373 million) to help the Palestinians build their new state. It includes substantial support in East Jerusalem, which the Palestinians hope to make their future capital.

The meeting will also look at ways to support the UN agency working with Palestinian refugees, UNRWA.

The US has been the largest donor, giving one-third of the total budget. But the Trump administration withheld half of the first instalment of payments this year, demanding reforms as a condition for future aid.

UNRWA said the move has sparked its biggest ever financial crisis, and has called on donors to speed up their funding. Switzerland, Finland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Germany, Russia, Belgium, Kuwait, the Netherlands and Ireland have taken steps to do so.

UNRWA said it is seeking £567 million for emergency operations in Syria, the West Bank and Gaza Strip this year.

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