High-level dialogue forum with EU to renew after decade-long freeze: Israel

Israel announced on Sunday that a high-level dialogue forum with the European Union (EU) will be renewed in Brussels on Monday after a decade-long freeze.

Prime Minister Yair Lapid will head the Israeli delegation for the first meeting of the renewed EU-Israel Association Council dialogue, Xinhua news agency reported, citing a statement by the Israeli Foreign Ministry.

On the European side, the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell as well as foreign ministers of EU member countries will participate.

The discussions would focus on issues including trade, climate change, energy, culture, science and technology, according to a statement issued by the Council of the EU on Thursday.

The talks would also engage in “the respect for human rights and democratic principles, freedom of religion as well as the fight against antisemitism,” the Council statement said.

The convening of the Association Council, the highest forum steering Israel-EU relations in science, economy, energy, environment, and other issues, “will enable Israel to continue developing its relations with the EU for the benefit of the citizens of Israel,” the Israeli ministry noted.

It will be the 12th meeting of the EU-Israel Association Council, after the last one in 2012.

The dialogue forum has been frozen for a decade amid Israel’s continuous expansion of the settlement in the occupied West Bank despite the EU opposition.

In September, Borrell “warmly” welcomed Lapid’s support for the two-state solution with the Palestinians expressed in his address to the UN General Assembly.

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