Spindelegger: “Palestinian agreement must be followed by further steps”
Vienna, 4 May 2011 – “The signing of an agreement in principle between Fatah and Hamas will hopefully open up new opportunities to finally overcome the political impasse in the Middle East,” said Vice-Chancellor and Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger today in his response to the conclusion of a “reconciliation agreement” between the two major Palestinian political factions which was signed on 3 May.
“The Palestinians are right to expect their political leadership to cooperate instead of opposing each other. We therefore welcome the general commitment of the two sides to return to cooperating in the interests of the Palestinian people as a whole, aimed at the development of a democratic state based on the rule of law in the Palestinian Territories,” continued Spindelegger.
The Foreign Minister also emphasised that this was only the first step in the right direction, which would have to be followed by others: “I expect the new Palestinian unity government – and in particular Hamas – to recognise the principles formulated by the international community for a promising peace process. Together with our partners we will thoroughly examine the content of the agreement and judge the new Palestinian leaders by their actions.”
In this context Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger proposed to invite President Mahmoud Abbas to participate in the next Council meeting of the EU foreign ministers in Brussels: “It would be interesting to receive a first-hand account of how the Palestinian President assesses the latest domestic developments.”
According to the Foreign Minister, for the agreement to lead to real progress it would have to pursue two goals: “The new leadership must continue the successful reform policies launched by Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and the negotiations with Israel for a peaceful and sustainable resolution of the conflict in the Middle East must be swiftly resumed.”
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