Catherine Ashton - Reuters - March 21, 2011
European High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton at the end of an EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels March 21, 2011. Photo by Reuters
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European Union ministers said on Monday that they will back United States President Barack Obama's call for a peace treaty between Israel and the Palestinians based on the 1967 borders.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said Monday that the EU has had a similar position for a long time that the peace talks should be based on the 1967 lines, with land swaps.

Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt says that on some of the key issues Obama was "very much on the European line."

He also criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's rejection of the '67 borders as "indefensible", saying "the only defense that is possible is peace."

They were speaking as EU ministers gathered for a regular monthly meeting.

Netanyahu bluntly rejected Obama's vision for the borders of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, in what appeared to be the opening of a deep divide between the United States and Israel.

In an unusually sharp rebuke to Israel's closest ally, Netanyahu told Obama his endorsement of the Palestinian demand to go back to Israel's 1967 boundaries - meaning big land concessions - would leave Israel "indefensible."

He later said that claims of his disagreement with Obama were "blown out of proportion."