Vienna, 26 November 2006 - "The ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinians that entered into force this morning may still be brittle, but it offers a chance to achieve the long-desired turnaround in the interests of reason and dialogue," emphasised Foreign Minister Plassnik.
"So far the ceasefire only applies to the Gaza Strip, yet still there are forces that want to undermine this attempt to return to a serious peace process against the will of the people concerned. However, the message that both the Israeli and Palestinian leaderships want to put an end to brute force is loud and clear and cannot be overheard," stated the Foreign Minister.
The Foreign Minister referred to the meeting of the foreign ministers of the EU and the Mediterranean states in Tampere, Finland, scheduled to start tomorrow, and to her forthcoming trip to the Middle East where she would take the opportunity to talk to the responsible decision-makers about the further steps planned. "Returning to new negotiations on a peaceful solution for the Middle East is and remains our objective," emphasised Plassnik.
In this connection the Foreign Minister also referred to the current talks between Fatah and Hamas on a Palestinian government of unity. "The latest developments also give hope that the efforts on the Palestinian side for a new government formula which would again make full cooperation with the international community possible will come to a positive conclusion. The unacceptable and inhumane situation in the Gaza Strip in particular requires the cooperation of all Palestinian forces. Israel is likewise called upon to take advantage of the positive momentum," concluded Plassnik.
Ministry for Foreign Affairs
Tel.: ++43 (0) 50 1150-3262, 4549, 4550
Fax: ++43 (0) 50 1159-213