E.U.-Israel take ‘time-out’ from upgrading relations


JERUSALEM (JTA) –The European Union and Israel have taken a "mutually agreed time-out" in negotiations over upgrading relations.

The negotiations were paused over Israel’s operation in Gaza.

"No activities that could be considered related to the upgrade are taking place due to the situation on the ground," Czech E.U. presidency spokesman Jan Sliva said, according to the EUobserver.

Israel requested the postponement of the talks, the Jerusalem Post reported, quoting senior Foreign Ministry officials.

"In a war situation, in a situation in which Israel is at war, using its war means in a very dramatic way, in a powerful way in Gaza, everybody realizes that it is not the appropriate time to upgrade bilateral relations which normally take place in a more … peaceful context," E.U. Ambassador to Israel Ramiro Cibrian-Uzal told reporters Wednesday.

The negotiations would set up frameworks for increased Israeli participation in E.U. programs and agencies while urging E.U. member states to forge closer political ties. Negotiations also focused on integrating Israel in the European trade market.

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