Austria's Foreign Minister hopes for a turning point in the Middle East conflict
Vienna, 30 April 2003 - In a first reaction to the appointment of Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) as new Palestinian Prime Minister and the confirmation of all new members of government by the Palestinian Legislative Council, Foreign Minister Benita Ferrero-Waldner stated today that she now expects the so-called Road Map to Peace drawn up within the context of the Middle East Quartet to be "submitted as soon as possible" to the Israeli and Palestinian governments. "With the Road Map, the EU, the US, Russia and the United Nations (i.e. the Middle East Quartet) are offering the conflicting parties a concrete instrument with which to reassume negotiations and search for a lasting peaceful solution. I hope that the first steps towards its implementation will be taken without further delay and will mark a turning point in this conflict," Ferrero-Waldner emphasised.
As Ferrero-Waldner believes, the measures planned are likely to put an end to the armed confrontations and bring the conflicting parties back to the negotiation table for talks to build up confidence and devise an approach to a sustainable solution. "These measures are designed to find ways to ensure a future without fear of terror and military occupation for Israelis and Palestinians alike," Ferrero-Waldner said.
In the opinion of the Foreign Minister, such a peaceful solution would also be of "central importance for defusing other political tension in the region and for easing the road to stability and prosperity for all peoples and states in the Middle East and Central Asia."