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Source: Germany
15 August 2013

Support for peace talks

Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle was in Israel and the Palestinian territories for talks. His visit focused on expressing Germany’s support for the resumption of direct peace talks between the Israelis and Palestinians. At the close of his trip, the German Foreign Minister emphasised that both sides had demonstrated a sincere desire to give the negotiations a real chance.

Foreign Minister Westerwelle met representatives of both sides during his trip to the Middle East. In Israel, he met President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for political talks. He also met Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, who is in charge of the negotiations with the Palestinians on the Israeli side.

In the Palestinian territories, Westerwelle had talks with both the President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, as well as with Rami Hamdallah, the head of the caretaker Government. Westerwelle stressed at the start of the trip that the reason for his visit was to convey a “very simple message” of support and encouragement for direct negotiations.

The Foreign Minister also called on all sides to refrain from taking any unilateral steps that could endanger the peace talks and stressed that in no event should the field be abandoned to those who are not interested in making the direct negotiations a success.

At the end of his trip, Westerwelle reiterated the significance of the peace negotiations for the region and beyond:

Strong support from Germany

On the impressions he had gained from his meetings, Foreign Minister Westerwelle stressed that in his talks he had seen “the sincere desire” to make the negotiations scheduled to start on 14 August a success and to give them a real chance. With regard to Germany’s support, the Minister said that he had “spoken to both sides about very concrete measures with which we can help both politically and also in other respects to ensure the success of the negotiations now beginning”.

Foreign Minister Westerwelle also outlined the contribution made by Germany and the EU to economic development in the region:

With regard to the international community’s efforts to restart the Middle East peace process, Foreign Minister Westerwelle again praised the “excellent mediation work” done by US Secretary of State John Kerry. Prior setting off on his travels, Westerwelle had paid tribute to Kerry’s “immense dedication” to reviving the talks and gave his assurance that Germany and the EU would do all they could to support the negotiation process.

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