May 15, 2015 / 3:18 PM / in 3 years

EU's Mogherini to visit Netanyahu and Abbas next week

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini is to travel to the Middle East next week to meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini addresses a news conference on the European Agenda on Migration at the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, May 13, 2015. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

During her visit on Wednesday and Thursday, following Netanyahu’s formation of a new coalition government, she will “discuss bilateral relations as well as prospects for the Middle East peace process”, her office said in a statement on Friday.

EU foreign ministers will discuss the region with Mogherini during a regular meeting in Brussels on Monday. An Italian who has been criticized in Israel for past contacts with Palestinian leaders, she took on the EU role last November, saying she wanted to make progress on peace in the Middle East a priority.

Some European states have grown impatient with Netanyahu, especially over continued expansion of Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank. Some have recently recognized a Palestinian state, although the EU itself says such recognition should follow a negotiated two-state settlement between the two sides.

Reporting by Alastair Macdonald @macdonaldrtr; editing by Andrew Roche

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