Skip to comments.EU to boost Israel trade relations despite settlements row
Posted on 07/25/2012 12:55:56 AM PDT by Olog-hai
The EU is today to confirm moves to strengthen economic ties with Israel, facing off criticism that trade conditions should be frozen due to the diplomatic impasse over Israeli settlements in the occupied territories.
The EU is Israels main trading partner with total trade worth 29.5 billion ($35.6 billion) in 2011. The 27-member bloc agreed to its first bilateral trade deal with Israel in 2000. However, plans for a comprehensive EU-Israel free trade agreement were frozen by the EU in January 2009 following Israeli attacks on the Gaza strip. The EU said that progress on trade talks was dependent on Israels commitment to the Middle East peace process, in which the EU forms part of the international Quartet.
The move comes just weeks after EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton denounced plans unveiled by Benjamin Netanyahus government in June to expand settlement building in the occupied territories, insisting that they were illegal under international law and threaten to make a two-state solution impossible.
(Excerpt) Read more at euobserver.com ...
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