European Union ambassadors call for end to Israeli settlements

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Mark Lylall Grant

European Union members of the Security Council have called for an immediate halt to the building of Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including East Jerusalem.

In a joint statement on Tuesday, they said increased settlement construction and settler violence are damaging the prospects of a return to negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians.

The United Kingdom, France, Germany and Portugal said they were dismayed by what they called "wholly negative developments."

Ambassador Mark Lylall Grant of the United Kingdom read the statement on behalf of the four European members of the Security Council.

“The viability of the Palestinian state that we want to see and the two-state solution that is essential for Israel's long-term security are threatened by the systematic and deliberate expansion of settlements. Settlements are illegal under international law and represent a serious blow to the Quartet's efforts to restart peace negotiations. All settlement activity, including in East Jerusalem, must cease immediately."

The Quartet is made up of the United Nations, the United States, the European Union and Russia.

(Duration: 28")

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