Plassnik: "Extremists to be prevented from seizing the initiative"
Meeting of EU Foreign Ministers with Palestinian President Abbas in New York
New York, 19 September 2006 - "President Abbas' intention to form a government of national unity has been an important stimulus for overcoming internal disagreement. It is also a new basis for the resumption of the dialogue with Israel and for cooperation with the international community of states," said Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik following the meeting of EU Foreign Ministers with the Palestinian President on the margins of the UN General Assembly in New York.
This meeting was held at the initiative of Foreign Minister Plassnik, who had submitted the proposal for a direct exchange of ideas with Mahmoud Abbas to the Finnish EU Presidency last week. "At this decisive stage it was important to hear first hand from President Abbas how he sees the situation," the Foreign Minister stressed.
"A government of national unity is currently the only route likely to succeed in putting an end to the stalemate in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The issue at stake now is the concrete implementation of this plan. The last few days have shown how great the difficulties are," said the Foreign Minister, adding that "the internal Palestinian dialogue has reached a turning point. We must not allow setbacks to discourage us in our commitment. We must prevent extremists from seizing back the initiative. We want to exploit the signs of hope and we trust that the current difficulties can be overcome."
Plassnik also stressed the importance of this meeting as a sign of the EU’s sustained support for President Abbas' efforts. "We welcome the clear conditions formulated by President Abbas for the formation of a government of national unity. Both the renunciation of violence and the release of the kidnapped Israeli soldiers and the arrested Palestinian politicians are indispensable requirements for re-establishing of the necessary basis of trust and dialogue," emphasised the Foreign Minister.
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