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Westerwelle warns of Mideast peace problems

The Local · 14 Jun 2011, 12:30

Published: 14 Jun 2011 12:30 GMT+02:00

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Westerwelle, who spoke after talks with Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad in Ramallah, did not specifically refer to Palestinian plans to seek UN recognition and membership in September.

But he stressed that negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians remained the best way to achieve a peace deal, even though talks have been on hold since late September 2010.

"The German government thinks that unilateral steps would be very counterproductive – negotiations should be the way," Westerwelle said at a joint press conference with Fayyad.

"Germany supports a two-state solution. We support the Palestinian people in having an independent state."

German officials have already said publicly that they oppose the Palestinian plan to ask the United Nations for membership and recognition.

Development Minister Dirk Niebel, who is accompanying Westerwelle and was in Gaza on Tuesday, told Der Spiegel magazine last week that the trip would underline Berlin's reservations about the Palestinian plan.

"We must convince the Palestinians that a unilateral declaration of independence is the wrong way to go," he said.

He said the German ministers would instead advise the Palestinian leadership to present a resolution calling for a two-state solution with Israel based on the borders that existed before the 1967 Arab-Israeli war and mutually agreed land swaps, as proposed by US President Barack Obama.

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France and other European countries have indicated they would recognise a Palestinian state while German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said she would not until a broader peace deal with Israel is agreed.

Westerwelle is scheduled to meet with his Israeli counterpart Avigdor Lieberman and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu later on Tuesday.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

14:48 June 14, 2011 by StoutViking
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
15:20 June 14, 2011 by Krim
Merkel and Westerwelle are lost on foreign policy. Libya, Palestine....

There is no line to be recognized and a bizarre understanding of international law and UN resolutions. In the case of Palestine, Bibi is dictating his position while in the Libya case I do not know who is behind the scene. Is it Ghaddafi hihihiho?
15:33 June 14, 2011 by Englishted
Which other European countries? apart from France.
15:40 June 14, 2011 by catjones
'Counterproductive'? Is he kidding? There hasn't been a single 'productive' step in 60 years.
16:21 June 14, 2011 by _sami_
Even if the whole international community recognizes the state of Palestine, what difference does this makes. the International community does not want nuclear arms yet who cares!! If you want something do not say I want it, but do it. The Palestinians have rights even if the whole word say they don't, and the opposite is also true.
18:01 June 14, 2011 by DOZ
There will never be Peace.
23:40 June 14, 2011 by wxman
There is no such thing as a Palestine, and there never was. Palestine was created out of whole cloth by the British 100 years ago when they and France drew "lines in the sand" creating "countries" following WWI. That area historicially and Biblically has always been the Land of the Jews, Israel. The Arabs that consider themselves Palestinians are actually Jordanians and Lebanese. Those nations use them as pauns to destroy the nation of Israel. The Israelis owe them nothing and they are entitled to nothing.
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