BRUSSELS — European Union foreign ministers called on Tuesday for the resumption of talks between Israel and the Palestinians, and urged them to make east Jerusalem the capital of two nations.
Israel had strongly objected to an earlier Swedish draft resolution which explicitly stated that east Jerusalem should be the capital of a Palestinian state. Israel's Foreign Ministry warned the move would damage the EU's ability to be a Mideast mediator.
EU foreign ministers dropped that reference from the resolution, but reiterated that the bloc would not recognize Israel's unilateral annexation of the eastern part of Jerusalem.
"The EU will not recognize any changes to the pre-1967 borders including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties," said the ministerial communique. It referred to the Mideast war in which Israeli forces captured east Jerusalem from the Jordanian army.
"If there is to be a genuine peace, a way must be found (thru negotiations) to resolve the status of Jerusalem as the future capital of two states," it said.
The competing claims to east Jerusalem remain the most intractable issue in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Some EU ministers supported the original Swedish proposal but others said it would risk undermining efforts to restart peace talks.
"I don't really understand why Israel does not accept that Palestine consists of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem," Luxembourg's Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn told journalists. "The Israelis have a right to live in Israel, the Palestinians have a right to live in Palestine."
The ministers took "positive note" of Israel's recent decision to implement a temporary freeze on building settlements on occupied land. But they emphasized that the settlements and the separation barrier where built on occupied land and that evictions and the demolition of Palestinian homes were illegal under international law.
The resolution said such Israeli actions "constitute an obstacle to peace and threaten to make a two-state solution impossible."
Associated Press writer Barbara Schaeder and Mike Corder contributed from Brussels.