European Union’s External Relations Commissioner, Benita Ferrero-Walnder, said that the EU is committed to helping the Palestinian people through temporary mechanisms.
Walnder was speaking to reporters upon arriving in the region for talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas over possible ways to expand the EU assistance to the Palestinian people.
Walnder pointed out that such assistance is not linked with the EU’s position regarding the upcoming Palestinian government. The EU’s official visit to the region includes Palestine, Israel, Jordan and Egypt. She is scheduled to hold meetings with senior officials, to discuss findings of the recent trilateral summit between President Abbas, Israeli PM Ehud Olmert and U.S Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, as well as the latest Quartet decisions.
The EU is a member of the Quartet committee for promoting peace in the Middle East, along with United States, United Nations and Russia. A meeting of the Quartet in Berlin last Wednesday reiterated demands that any Palestinian government should recognize Israel, renounce violence and accept signed agreements. This would by the condition for the lifting of the one-year old economic embargo that has been imposed on the Palestinian Authority since a Hamas-led government was installed after last January’s parliamentary elections.
Hamas has detached itself from committing ostensibly to the Quartet’s demands but has announced it would respect previous Palestinian obligations. Palestinian sources said Monday a new Palestinian cabinet would be made public by early March. The unity government would include representatives of both Hamas and Fatah along with other Palestinian parliamentary blocs.