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EU, Arab League fail to release joint statement on Mideast conflicts

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini (C) poses with ministers for a family photograph during a ministerial meeting of the EU and the Arab League in Brussels, Belgium, February 4, 2019. (Photo by AFP)

The European Union and the Arab League have held a ministerial meeting, but failed to release a joint statement amid a lack of consensus on ongoing conflicts and issues in the Middle East region.

The meeting took place in the Belgian capital, Brussels, on Monday, with the aim of making preparations for the first ever summit between the EU and the Arab League due in the Egyptian city of Sharm el-Sheikh on February 24-25.

Speaking at a press conference following the meeting, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said “common ground was there on 90-95 percent of issues.”

She also noted that the two sides shared the same positions regarding the support for a political transition in Syria, the so-called two-state solution to the Middle East conflict, the recognition of Jerusalem al-Quds as the capital of both Israel and Palestine, and finding solutions to the crises gripping Yemen and Libya.

The EU and the Arab League ministers further discussed ways to strengthen economic cooperation, trade and investments as well as opportunities for young people and education.

Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit, for his part, stressed that there were “more complications on the European side rather than the Arab side.”

However, Mogherini disagreed with him, saying, “I would say rather the contrary.”

Speaking during the ministerial meeting, Aboul Gheit urged European countries to recognize the state of Palestine within the pre-1967 boundaries with its capital in East Jerusalem al-Quds.

He further praised Europe for its humanitarian and financial assistance to Palestinians provided through the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).

He also called for a political solution to the Syria conflict in accordance with UN resolutions, underlining the need for European countries to work together to tackle challenges such as terrorism and illegal immigration.

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