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26 July 2010
THE EUROPEAN UNION
PR CO 13
3029th Council meeting
Brussels, 26 July 2010
Ms Catherine ASHTON
High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and
GAZA / MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS
The High Representative briefed the Council on her recent trip to the Middle East and in particular on her visit to Gaza. The Council underlined the urgent need for a lasting solution to the situation in Gaza and for the revival of its economy. It called for the immediate, sustained and unconditional opening of crossings for the flow of humanitarian aid, commercial goods and persons to and from Gaza. It discussed the possible role the EU could play in contributing to improved access.
The High Representative, in a statement to the press on behalf of the Council, reiterated the EU's call for the proximity talks to lead as swiftly as possible to the resumption of direct peace talks leading to a settlement on the basis of a two-state solution negotiated between the parties within 24 months. She urged the parties to find a satisfactory way of addressing all the final status issues,reaffirmed the EU's commitment to its position on the Middle East Peace Process set out in the December 2009 Council conclusions, urged the Israeli government to end all settlement activities, appealed to both sides to avoid any provocative actions and called for the immediate release of Gilad Shalit.