Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas on Monday urged the European Union to move towards recognition of a Palestinian state, in a call to the bloc's top diplomat.
"(Catherine) Ashton spoke today (Monday) with president Abbas who called on the EU to take a step towards recognition of the state of Palestine based on the 1967 borders," chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat said.
"We hope that the European Union will take this step to maintain the requirements for the success of the peace process, which was thwarted by Israel," added Erakat, who issued his own appeal to the EU earlier on Monday.
Erakat's demands were laid out in a letter addressed to Ashton, who is presiding over a meeting of foreign policy chiefs in Brussels, a copy of which was seen.
EU diplomats were expected to issue a statement later on Monday reaffirming their readiness to recognise a Palestinian state at an "appropriate" time, after the collapse of direct peace talks over the issue of Israeli settlement construction.
In his letter, Erakat "affirmed the need for an EU recognition of two states along the 1967 borders and to oblige the Israeli government to completely halt settlement activity, including in east Jerusalem."
Erakat said, "such a step by the European Union would provide protection for the principle of two states as well as for the peace process," which ran aground last week after Washington admitted failure to secure a new Israeli settlement freeze, thereby ending direct talks.
The draft EU statement, a copy of which was seen, said the bloc "reiterates its readiness, when appropriate, to recognise a Palestinian state," but stressed it will not recognise any changes to the pre-1967 borders that are not agreed between the parties.
Erakat's letter also expressed appreciation for various recent EU statements of support for the Palestinians' rights to east Jerusalem, which was occupied and annexed by Israel in 1967.
In December 2009, EU foreign ministers adopted a text agreeing that Jerusalem should be the future capital of two states.
Last week, the bloc published an annual report in which it condemned Israeli policy in east Jerusalem, saying it "seriously endangers" a two-state solution.
Over the past few weeks, Palestinian officials have been talking up their options if peace talks with Israel totally collapse.
One option is seeking recognition of a unilateral declaration of statehood on the basis of the 1967 borders, including the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and occupied east Jerusalem.