‘Strong’ Palestinian Authority needed to bring Mideast peace: EU’s Borrell

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A “strong” Palestinian Authority is needed to bring peace in the Middle East, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said Sunday alongside Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Mustafa.

“A functional Palestinian Authority is in Israel’s interest too, because in order to make peace, we need a strong Palestinian Authority, not a weaker one,” Borrell said.

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He made the remarks to journalists just before holding talks with Mustafa on how the Palestinian administration can be built up to take over Gaza rule from Hamas.

“We see the meeting today as a very important opportunity for us as a government and new government to present our international partners with the outlines of our priorities and plans for the coming period,” Mustafa said.

The Palestinian leader said the “first priority” was to support Palestinians in Gaza, especially through a ceasefire, and then “rebuilding the institutions of the Palestinian Authority” in that territory, which Hamas seized control of in 2007.

He also called on international partners to press Israel to release Palestinian Authority funding so “we will be ready to reform our institutions... and hopefully together sustain our efforts towards statehood and peace for the region.”

The Brussels meeting, focused on international aid, was being chaired by Norwegian Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide, in connection with the 1993 Oslo Accords that established a series of arrangements between the Palestinians and Israel.

Israel is furious with Norway, and also Spain and Ireland, for announcing they will recognize the State of Palestine on Tuesday.

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