The Cairo-based Arab League (AL) on Saturday denounced the European Union (EU) for its recent decision to upgrade its ties with Israel, saying it would hinder the stalled Middle East peace process.
The EU move would encourage the Jewish state to maintain its practices in its conflicts with Arabs that would "hinder the peace process," the AL General Secretariat said in a statement.
While expressing disappointment with the EU decision, the Arab world hopes that the EU would urge Israel to observe the commitments reached in the US-hosted Annapolis conference and signed agreements in order to advance the peace process, according to the Egyptian MENA news agency.
On Monday, an EU Foreign Ministerial meeting unanimously approved to upgrade relations with Israel, drawing strong reactions and protests in the Arab world.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit said on Tuesday that his country was surprised by the EU decision to step up its relations with Israel.
The EU decision is "strange" since the European bloc has repeated its assertion that enhancing ties with Israel should be based on the improvement of the Middle East peace process, Abul Gheit said in a statement.
It is a move that "is difficult to understand," especially considering that no tangible progress has been achieved in the regional peace process since its re-launching in November last year, Abul Gheit criticized.