Liberman EU 22.2.11 AP
FM Avigdor Lieberman and his Hungarian counterpart Janos Martonyi attend a media briefing at an EU-Israel Association Council in Brussels, February 21, 2011. Photo by AP
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BRUSSELS - The European Union is telling Israel that growing instability in the Middle East makes it imperative to immediately resume the stalled peace process with the Palestinians.

Hungary's foreign minister Janos Martonyi, whose country currently chairs the EU, told his Israeli counterpart Avigdor Lieberman on Tuesday that time is pressing and that the Israeli-Palestinian talks remain the core issue.

Lieberman, who is holding talks with the EU as part of a decade-old association agreement, also said it was important to resume direct peace talks with the Palestinian Authority.

Palestinians insist they will not restart the talks until Israel halts settlement building in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which they want as a capital. Israel has accused the Palestinians of stalling and using the settlement construction as an excuse.

On Friday, the United States vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution that would have condemned Israeli settlement construction. The resolution, which was proposed by the Palestinians and Arab states, had won the support of the other 14 members of the Council.