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The European Union has rejected a plan to push for recognition of a Palestinian state at the UN Security Council, saying the move was "premature".


Carl Bildt, Sweden's foreign minister, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency, said the bloc was discussing other steps to demonstrate its support for Palestinian aspirations.


November 17, 2009,  UrukNet.Info

"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 that is somewhat premature," he said on Tuesday.


His comments come a day after Palestinian officials launched an appeal to EU countries to back their plan to secure international support for an independent state at the UN Security Council, without the consent of Israel.

The plan, backed by the Arab League, has also been rejected by Washington, which along with the EU backs a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

'Difficult situation'

The Israeli government has threatened to nullify past accords with the Palestinians if they take any unilateral action.

Avigdor Lieberman, Israel's foreign minister, said any Palestinian move on independence "will be countered by a unilateral move on our part".

Benita Ferrero-Waldner, the EU's external relations commissioner, said the bloc's foreign ministers were discussing ways to involve the US in helping to push Palestinians and Israelis to back peace talks.

"The most important thing until now is to really help the Americans bring both sides to the table," she said.

Bildt said he could understand why the Palestinians were suggesting such a move, as a way to break the current deadlock.

"It is clearly an act borne by a difficult situation where they don't see any road ahead and I can understand that," he said.

He reiterated EU calls that Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, move to freeze all Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank, a key
Palestinian demand to resume negotiations.

Netanyahu, who refuses to halt settlement construction, has repeatedly urged the Palestinians to return to the negotiating table without conditions.


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