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MOSCOW, December 22 (Itar-Tass) —— Russia and the European Union denounce Israel's plans to expand settlements, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton said in their joint statement on the situation in the Middle East peace process. The text of the statement was published on the Russian Foreign Ministry's website on Saturday.
The Russian Federation and the European Union are deeply dismayed by and strongly oppose Israeli plans to expand settlements in the West Bank and in particular plans to develop the E1 area, the Russian foreign minister and the EU foreign policy chief said in the statement.
These plans, if implemented, would jeopardize the possibility of a contiguous and viable Palestinian state.
The European Union and the Russian Federation reiterate the settlements are illegal under international law and constitute an obstacle to peace.
The Russian Federation and the EU will not recognize any changes in the pre-1967 borders, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties, they said.