(No. 100 – March 11, 2010 – 12:15 p.m. ET) The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today issued the following statement expressing Canada’s concern regarding the planned expansion of Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem, and encouraging Israelis and Palestinians to move ahead with indirect peace talks:
“The Government of Canada regrets the Government of Israel’s announcement of plans for the construction of further housing units in East Jerusalem.
“Consistent with the positions of the United States, the European Union, the United Nations and other key partners, the Canadian government sees the construction of permanent settlements in East Jerusalem as an obstacle to the prospects for peace.
“Canada believes that all parties should abide by their international commitments. This announcement does not advance the cause of peace in the region.
“Canada welcomes the recent announcement that Israelis and Palestinians intend to start indirect peace talks. Canada has consistently held that the way forward for both parties must be through a negotiated settlement of this decades-old conflict, in accordance with the commitments they have each undertaken. We hope that the parties, with U.S. participation, can achieve progress that will lead to a resumption of direct negotiations in pursuit of a comprehensive peace agreement.”