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EU's Ashton Extends Mediation Trip To Middle East

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton speaks during a press conference in Amman on September 1.
European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton has extended a Middle East trip to hold more talks aimed at averting a Palestinian bid for statehood at the United Nations.

Palestinians are preparing to submit a formal request to become the 194th member of the United Nations, despite U.S. and Israeli opposition, when the General Assembly begins its meetings on September 20.

The European Union is the largest international aid donor to the Palestinians, but the 27-member bloc could split if the Palestinians bring the issue of statehood up for a vote at the United Nations, with some states backing the efforts and others likely to oppose them.

Ashton is meeting Israeli and Palestinian leaders in what appears to be a last-ditch effort to revive peace talks.

compiled from Reuters reports