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EU urges US not to go it alone with Mideast peace efforts


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BRUSSELS — The European Union on Wednesday urged the U.S. to not go it alone in any effort to make peace between Israel and the Palestinians and warned that doing so would end in failure.

“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,” EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said.

“Nothing without the United States, nothing with the United States alone,” Mogherini told reporters in Brussels.

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 U.S. senior official are attending the talks, to be chaired by Norway and scheduled to run for about three hours.

The meeting is the first of its kind since President Donald Trump recognized 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.

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 hope 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 euros ($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 U.N. agency working with Palestinian refugees, UNRWA.

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

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

UNRWA said it is seeking $800 million for emergency operations in Syria, the West Bank and Gaza Strip this year.

In Slovenia, meanwhile, officials have delayed a decision on whether to recognize the Palestinian territories as a separate state after pressure from Israel and the United States.

Slovenia’s Parliament Foreign Policy Committee suspended its session on Wednesday pending official government position. The native country of U.S. first lady Melania Trump could become only the second EU state to recognize a Palestinian state after Sweden.


Dusan Stojanovic in Belgrade contributed to this report.