E.U. approves upgrading Israel ties

The European Union agreed to upgrade its relations with Israel.

E.U. foreign ministers announced Monday that the 27-nation bloc would improve its trade and policymaking ties with Israel, satisfying a long-standing request from Jerusalem.

“The European Union is determined to develop a closer partnership with Israel,” the ministers said in a statement.

Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni was to seal the deal in later talks with her European counterparts in Luxembourg.

The Palestinian Authority had urged the European Union to put off any upgrade because of Israel’s policies in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The E.U. ministers said the updated ties with Israel should include encouraging a framework for “the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through the implementation of the two-state solution.”

Israel currently has an “association agreement” with the European Union setting out a schedule of political meetings, regulating trade ties and cooperating in areas from internal security to education.

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