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Middle East policy

Merkel gives assurance of continuity

Germany has committed a total of 100 million euros to the Palestinian Territories for 2013. It was important, Chancellor Merkel said after meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, that economic development was successful and tangible for the population.

Chancellor Angela Merkel with President Mahmoud Abbas in Berlin Chancellor Angela Merkel met with President Mahmoud Abbas in Berlin Photo: Bundesregierung/Kugler

Following her meeting with President Abbas in Berlin Angela Merkel emphasised that it was very important for the Federal Government that the possible US-led Israeli-Palestinian talks were a success. She said the two leaders had discussed the prospects for that.

The Chancellor said: “Germany has always indicated that unilateral steps are not the way to push forward the peace process.” Negotiations were the only way to bring about a solution, she added. Asked about settlement building, she urged Israel to show restraint with its settlement policy. President Abbas stressed that the Palestinian side was serious in its efforts to conduct the negotiations.

Two-state solution

A lasting resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can, in Germany’s view, only be achieved through negotiations that lead to a two-state solution: The State of Israel and an independent, democratic and viable Palestinian state.

On his trip to Israel and Palestine in March 2013 US President Barack Obama had tried to canvas support for negotiations without preconditions. Based on an initiative launched by US Secretary of State John Kerry, Israel and Palestine held direct talks in Washington in July. It was agreed that confidential negotiations on all relevant issues would be conducted.

Conflict in Syria

With regard to Syria, Angela Merkel said: “Now we need to work towards Geneva II taking place as soon as possible.” Only a political solution could bring about a peaceful resolution to the conflict in Syria, she went on.

At their meeting in Lough Erne, Northern Ireland on 18 June 2013 the heads of state and government of the G8 had discussed the situation in Syria and ways to end the violence. The Declaration issued at the end of the summit meeting underlines the common commitment to finding a political solution. It also calls on a second international Syria conference (Geneva II) to be held as soon as possible.

German involvement in the Palestinian Territories
Germany is one of the biggest bilateral donors in the Palestinian Territories. Germany’s involvement focuses on water, economic development, public safety (police), governance and education. In 2012 the Federal Government committed a total of some 150 million euros to the Palestinian Territories, around 74 million euros of which in the context of bilateral projects. The funding for bilateral projects was allocated to development cooperation (46 million euros), humanitarian aid (approx. 15 million euros), civilian crisis prevention (8.3 million euros), and culture and education (4.8 million euros).

German-Palestinian Steering Committee
The German-Palestinian Steering Committee was set up in the context of bilateral cooperation in May 2010. It convened for the second time in March 2012 in Berlin. The Steering Committee aims to pool Germany’s activities in the Palestinian Territories.

EU involvement
The EU is the biggest donor to the Palestinian Territories. The EU's contribution, of which Germany provides about 20 per cent, totals approx. 480 million euros. Bilateral aid from individual Member States adds about the same volume again. So far in 2013 the EU has donated around 248 million euros in support for the Palestinian Territories.

Friday, 18. October 2013

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