European officials back Obama on 1967 borders for Palestinian state
Following Obama's Middle East speech, German chancellor and EU foreign policy chief express support for basing peace deal on 1967 borders.
The European Union's top foreign policy official is supporting U.S. President Barack Obama's call to use the 1967 borders as the basis for a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
A spokeswoman said Catherine Ashton "welcomes the important statement delivered by President Obama."
"We believe [Obama's] actions and objectives find a clear echo in the work the European Union is doing," Maja Kocijancic said on Friday.
Obama's urged that a Palestinian state be based on 1967 borders, from before the Six Day War in which Israel occupied East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
Obama's comments drew an immediate negative response from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is to meet with the U.S. president in Washington on Friday.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel also on Friday expressed support for Obama's policy speech on the Middle East and said that basing a peace agreement on the 1967 borders could be the way forward
"I think the proposal of taking the 1967 border and of considering the exchange of territory - considering it and not dogmatically adhering to it - would be a good and manageable path," Merkel told a news conference.
Germany is a strong backer of Israel but Merkel, during a visit to Israel in February, urged Israel to accommodate Palestinian demands for a halt of settlement construction.
Merkel said on Friday that the situation with regard to the peace process had changed since this year's wave of popular uprisings in the Arab world.
"The peace process in the Middle East and the developments in the Arab area are very closely linked," she said.
Ashton's and Merkel's words of support for Obama were echoed by the foreign ministers of Poland, Germany and France.
"We support (Obama's) courageous message," said Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski after a meeting with his French and German counterparts. "Barack Obama did what Europe has been trying to convince him to do."