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EU foreign ministers pledge ‘unprecedented’ support for peace agreement

(JTA) — The foreign ministers of European Union member countries pledged to provide an “unprecedented” amount of support to Israel and the Palestinians if they reach a final-status peace agreement.

At its monthly meeting on Monday in Brussels, the EU Foreign Affairs Council “reiterated the EU’s readiness to contribute substantially to post-conflict arrangements for ensuring the sustainability of a peace agreement,” according to minutes released by the council.

“An unprecedented package of European political, economic and security support to both parties can be expected in the context of a final status agreement,” read the document, which added, “Details and concrete proposals will be worked on.”

Among the incentives would be a “Special Privileged Partnership,” including increased access to European markets, closer cultural and scientific ties, and assistance with trade and investments, according to the council. Enhanced political dialogue and security cooperation also will be offered to both states.

The council called the current round of Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations “a unique opportunity.”

It warned against “actions that undermine the negotiations,” singling out Israel for  settlement expansion, Palestinian house demolitions and the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza, as well as actions that undermine the status quo of holy sites, including in Jerusalem.

The U.S. State Department praised the pledge.

“The vision of increased access to European markets, closer cultural and scientific links, facilitation of trade and investments and business-to-business engagement will help strengthen and expand the economies of Israel and of a future Palestinian state,” spokeswoman Marie harf said in a statement.

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