EU Foreign Policy Chief Cancels Jerusalem Visit

Mogherini's attendance at AJC conference on Monday, following Jordan visit, canceled due to 'agenda reasons.' Netanyahu's bureau says he was unable to meet her, while sources add that 'her positions are very hostile'

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini addresses a press conference in Brussels on June 1, 2018.
EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP

European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini has canceled her participation in a conference organized by American Jewish Committee set to take place at the International Convention Center in Jerusalem on Monday. Mogherini was invited to attend the conference following an official visit she is expected to make in Jordan.

Following the cancellation, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's bureau said that he was unable to meet with Mogherini during her visit while diplomatic sources added that "her positions are very hostile."

The European Union said in response that Mogherini's visit was originally planned for Jordan, not Israel, but that the possibility of arriving to the conference was considered after she was invited there to celebrate Israel's 70th anniversary. The reason the visit was canceled, according to EU sources, was not Netanyahu, but "agenda reasons." They added that Mogherini was looking forward to returning to the region in the near future.

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Netanyahu last met with Mogherini in December when he attended a breakfast with 28 foreign ministers of European Union nations. The event was described then as a deliberate attempt to sidestep Mogherini, after Netanyahu was invited by Lithuania's representatives in the Union.

Netanyahu told the ministers at the time that the European nations should "stop spoiling the Palestinians."

After Netanyahu's visit, Mogherini said at a press conference that EU nations will not be moving their embassies to Jerusalem. Mogherini spoke of the meeting with Netanyahu, saying that "he expects others to follow Trump's decision to move the embassy to Jerusalem. He can keep his expectations for others — because from the EU member states' side this move will not come."

Mogherini added that her meeting with Netanyahu in Brussels mainly focused on the situation in Jerusalem and the peace process, in contrast to Netanyahu's statement that he meeting dealt with Iran and the economy. Mogherini also responded to a comment by Netanyahu, who said peace must be built on "reality" following Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, asking, "You want three states, four, five, ten? Two states are the only viable and realistic option."