(JTA) — The European Union will not recognize Palestinian statehood until an "appropriate" time, its Foreign Affairs Council said in a statement.
The 27 EU foreign ministers meeting Monday in Brussels issued the statement in response to a letter from Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat to EU foreign policy head Catherine Ashton asking the body to join those countries that already have recognized a unilaterally declared Palestinian state.
Argentina and Brazil announced their support last week of a unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state.
"The EU commends the work of the Palestinian Authority in building the institutions of the future State of Palestine and reiterates its full support for their endeavors in this regard and the (Palestine Prime Minister Salam) Fayyad plan," read the EU Foreign Affairs Council’s statement.
"[The council] reiterates its readiness, when appropriate, to recognize a Palestinian state," it added, saying that "urgent progress is needed towards a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."
The statement said the ministers were disappointed that Israel did not extend its settlement freeze and reiterated that "Our views on settlements, including in East Jerusalem, are clear: they are illegal under international law and an obstacle to peace."