Barroso: EU remains committed to a “viable Palestinian state”
By Lénaïc Vaudin d’Imécourt | Monday 09 July 2012
European Commission President José Manuel Barroso reiterated his support for an independent Palestinian state during his first ever trip to the region, on 8 July. “Through our overall political and financial support we are laying the foundations of a future democratic and viable Palestinian state – its institutions and its infrastructure,” he told the press in Ramallah, after meeting Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.
Barroso urged the Israeli and Palestinian authorities to resume their peace talks in order to find a two-state solution and not to make recent events in the Arab world a “deterrent to the resumption of negotiations”. The head of the EU executive noted that developments in the West Bank could have a negative impact on said negotiations. “It is with concern that we see the continuous growth of settlements in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem,” Barroso said as he called on both parties not to act “in a way that undermines the viability of a two-state solution”.
The EU, which is the largest donor to the Palestinian people, committed €4 billion in aid to the Palestinian authorities between 2000 and 2011. While in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Barroso signed a cooperation agreement worth €20 million in support of the rule of law and democracy in the region. “The European Union has stood by you and continues to stand by you,” Barroso said after meeting the President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas.
Barroso also visited Israel, on 9 July, and met Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to discuss the state of play in bilateral relations. He attended the signing of a new memorandum of understanding on cooperation on energy and water.