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EU seeks ‘fresh start’ with Israel as foreign policy chief Borrell visits

EU seeks ‘fresh start’ with Israel as foreign policy chief Borrell visits

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Monday the bloc was hoping for a fresh start with Israel’s new government, as Foreign Minister Yair Lapid held talks in Brussels. “It’s important that the new Israeli government comes here to Brussels — it is an opportunity for a fresh start,” Borrell said after meeting Lapid.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Monday the bloc was hoping for a fresh start with Israel’s new government, as Foreign Minister Yair Lapid held talks in Brussels.

“It’s important that the new Israeli government comes here to Brussels — it is an opportunity for a fresh start,” Borrell said after meeting Lapid.

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“I think it’s a good opportunity for us to restart our relations, which in the past were quite deteriorated.”

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas described the visit as a “good sign” and said the bloc was looking to resume meetings of the EU-Israel Association Council — last held in almost a decade ago — designed to improve ties between the two sides.

Lapid was to meet all EU 27 foreign ministers for joint talks.

The EU is eyeing greater cooperation with Israel after a disparate coalition — masterminded by centrist Lapid — came together last month to oust veteran right-wing leader Benjamin Netanyahu.

Relations were tense between Brussels and Netanyahu, who pushed to sideline the EU as a player in the volatile region.

But thorny issues remain as the EU is pushing for a resumption of the search for a two-state solution to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, and seeking to broker the return of the United States to the 2015 nuclear accord with Iran.

Read more: EU calls for stop to Israeli demolition of Palestinian buildings

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