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EU's Catherine Ashton sees no alternative to two-state solution--Chile recognizes Palestinian state.

--EU's Catherine Ashton sees no alternative to two-state solution

--Chile recognizes Palestinian state

Catherine Ashton, the EU's foreign policy chief, has asserted the importance in moving quickly towards a two-state solution saying there was no alternative to Israel and Palestine living in peace and security side by side, the pro-government Lebanese daily AL MUSTAQBAL reported on Saturday. Ashton said on Friday, after a visit to the Middle East on Wednesday and Thursday, that her visit was an expression of the EU's commitment to peace, and that the talks with the Israelis and Palestinians were to overcome the current stalemate. "We've listened to the positions and fears of both sides," said Ashton. She pledged to assist both parties in achieving peace and announced the EU's readiness to host the second conference of donors in the spring to support a Palestinian state.

Direct Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, which began in Washington in early September collapsed less than a month later when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to renew his country's freeze on settlement construction under heavy domestic pressure. The Palestinian leadership withdrew from talks at this point, saying they would not return to talks unless Israel reimposed a settlement freeze. After more than two months of intense U.S. diplomatic efforts to bring the two parties back to the negotiating table, Washington announced that it was abandoning direct talks in December. The U.S. and EU leaders have since expressed their adherence to a two-state negotiated solution although the Palestinians appear intent on increasing the number of counties that recognize the Palestinian state so as to strengthen their hand if they decide to head to the UN Security Council to have their statehood recognized at the UN.

On Friday Chile recognized the state of Palestine upon the recommendation on Thursday by its country's parliament. Foreign Minister Alfredo Moreno said, "The government of Chile has adopted the resolution today recognizing the existence of the state of Palestine as a free, independent and sovereign state." This follows the example of Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia and Ecuador who have all extended diplomatic recognition to Palestine since early December. They join Costa Rica, Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela in Latin America as having recognized the Palestinian state. Chile's recognition did not mention the nature of the Palestinian state's borders, something which its Latin American neighbors have announced are those of June 1967.
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Publication:The Weekly Middle East Reporter (Beirut, Lebanon)
Geographic Code:3CHIL
Date:Jan 8, 2011
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