|Federal Minister Fischer on the start of the Israeli pullout from the Gaza Strip |
On Sunday (14 August), Federal Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer issued the following statement on the Israeli pullout from the Gaza Strip and four settlements in the West Bank:
"The Federal Government welcomes Israel's decision to withdraw from the Gaza Strip and four settlements in the West Bank. It is a bold and historic step one that within the framework of the Road Map can lead to further strides towards peace.
The Federal Government calls upon both sides to do everything within their power to ensure a peaceful and smooth withdrawal. The opportunities that arise from the pullout must now be used to improve both security and the economic situation, and to advance the peace process.
As for the Palestinians, they must bring forward reforms to ensure efficient governance, and they must respect the cease-fire. Israel can decisively contribute to economic development in the Gaza Strip and thus enhance stability and security."
The international community, above all the Quartet, have supported both sides in their preparations for the pullout, and will continue to do so. Germany in particular is providing personnel for, and directly involved in, development cooperation projects.