Two-state solution 'only realistic one' to resolve Israeli-Palestinian conflict: EU

The European Union's foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini addresses a press conference after a bilateral meeting with Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi at the European Union Commission in Brussels on Dec 14, 2017.
The European Union's foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini addresses a press conference after a bilateral meeting with Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi at the European Union Commission in Brussels on Dec 14, 2017.PHOTO: AFP

JAKARTA - The European Union shares the predominant world view that only a two-state solution can lead to the success of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, the grouping's foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said on Thursday (Dec 14).

"We believe that the only realistic solution to the conflict between Israel and Palestine is based on two states… with Jerusalem as the capital of both along the '67 lines," she added.

She was referring to a UN resolution in 1967 that called for Israel's withdrawal from territories it occupied after the Six-Day War.

Ms Mogherini was speaking to reporters after a meeting with Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, who was in Brussels to garner political support for Palestine following the decision by US President Donald Trump to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Ms Mogherini said she had compared notes with Ms Retno on how the EU viewed the situation in Jerusalem which "endangers the rest of the region". She affirmed that the EU would continue to support the voices of moderation and wisdom.

"The Foreign Minister and I agreed that we must keep working towards this solution together, creating the right international framework to accompany the relaunch of direct negotiations with a clear political horizon of two states with Jerusalem as the capital of both," said Ms Mogherini.

Belgium is the last stop of of a three-nation tour by Ms Retno which included visits to Jordan and Turkey, where she accompanied President Joko Widodo for the emergency meeting of leaders of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Wednesday.

Ms Retno said she reiterated, in talks with her EU counterpart, the OIC's final summit communique which, among other things, declared Mr Trump's decision "null and void", and called for member states to impose political and economic restrictions on countries and businesses that recognise Israel's occupation of East Jerusalem.

She also communicated Mr Joko's six-point proposal at the OIC to the EU. The proposal included a call for countries with embassies in Tel Aviv not to follow the US decision to move their mission to Jerusalem and, as Indonesia has pledged, to boost humanitarian aid, capacity building and economic cooperation for the Palestinians.

Acknowledging the EU's position on Jerusalem, Ms Retno said: "Indonesia is very active in contributing whatever we can to support the Palestinians, because the Palestinian issue is a very important issue and a priority issue in Indonesian foreign policy… so Indonesia will always be with the Palestinians."

The Indonesian Foreign Minister and her EU counterpart also discussed the "complex" situation in Myanmar that has seen more than half a million people flee across the border into Bangladesh since August because of a Myanmar military crackdown that the United States has said constitutes "ethnic cleansing".

A deal was reached on Nov 23 - following talks between Myanmar's civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi and Bangladesh Foreign Minister A.H. Mahmood Ali - which Dhaka said would allow it to start returning the refugees, most of whom are Muslim Rohingya, to mainly Buddhist Myanmar in two months.

"Both the European Union and Indonesia have been very active about the crisis," said Ms Mogherini, adding that last month's agreement "is the right step".

She also said the EU is committed to supporting Myanmar through this challenging time.

Ms Retno echoed Ms Mogherini's comments on the situation in Myanmar, while disclosing that her Bangladesh counterpart had told her a joint working group to oversee the implementation of the Nov 23 agreement is in its final stages.

"We hope that the recommendations will be implemented in two months," said Ms Retno.