EU downplays leak of Jerusalem memo

The European Commission has downplayed the significance of the leaking of a report that accused Israel of seeking to prevent Jerusalem becoming Palestine's future capital, although admitting it was "unfortunate".

    A leaked report questioned Palestine's proposed capital

    The European Union's (EU) executive arm pointed out that EU foreign ministers last week had publicly announced that such a report was due to be published, and had also publicly made such criticism of Israel at a meeting in Brussels.

     

    "There is no wish to conceal a document. There's a public statement that a document is going to be made public," said Emma Udwin, spokeswoman for EU external relations commissioner, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, on Friday.

     

    The preliminary EU report - it is unclear if it was the final version - was leaked in Jerusalem by an Israeli group campaigning against demolitions of Palestinian houses in east Jerusalem.

     

    "Israel's activities in Jerusalem are in violation of both its roadmap obligations and international law," said the document.

     

    Detailed analysis

     

    But in Brussels, the EU spokeswoman read out extracts from the public conclusions of the EU ministers' regular meeting in Brussels last week, which included a request for EU officials to draw up "a detailed analysis on East Jerusalem to be adopted and made public" at their next meeting, on 12 December.

     

    The EU said it was unclear if
    the report would still be adopted

    The ministers' conclusions also underlined the EU's "grave concerns at Israeli activities in and around East Jerusalem, including construction of the separation barrier, settlement building and house demolitions," she noted.

     

    "These reduce the possibility of reaching a final status agreement on Jerusalem, threaten to make any solution based on the co-existence of two viable states physically impossible and are contrary to international law."

     

    EU unclear

     

    The EU spokeswoman said it was unclear, given the leak, if the report would still be adopted on 12 December, or earlier.

     

    "I don't know whether, given that there has been a leak - we always regard leaks as unfortunate - there will be a revision of the timetable or whether it's ready to be put out sooner," she said.

     

    "But certainly you have a commitment ... to make something public at the next GAERC," she said, using EU-speak for EU foreign ministers' meetings.

    SOURCE: AFP


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