Wien, 18. January 2007 Press release

Plassnik: "Close and trustful cooperation on major international 'construction sites'"

18.01.2007

Foreign Minister met her German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier in Vienna

Vienna, 18 January 2007 - "We shall continue and intensify our proven, close, and trustful cooperation with our German friends in the coming months. The German EU Presidency can count on our full support", said Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik today following a meeting with her German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

This would particularly apply to the constitution issue. "We share the German Presidency’s objective of elaborating a clear roadmap for further procedure by the end of June. After all, we already laid the foundations for this during our own Presidency. Our common goal is to achieve clarity in terms of our legal basis by the European elections in 2009. This is why we now need new incentives. However, in striving for this we should not throw out the baby with the bath water - the forward-looking innovations of the Constitution Treaty should not simply be dismissed out of hand," stated the Foreign Minister.

Plassnik informed the German Foreign Minister about yesterday’s trip to Serbia, which took place prior to the Serb elections on 21 January. "We both agreed that it is particularly important at this stage to consolidate Serbia’s European alignment. The people of Serbia must be communicated in a credible manner that their country’s path to Europe is open. We want Serbia as a partner and a friend, firmly anchored in European structures. Serbia’s future - and that of the entire Balkans - lies in a common Europe," emphasised the Foreign Minister. In this context the Foreign Minister referred to the big challenge posed by the Kosovo status negotiations during the coming months.

The talks also focused on recent developments in the Middle East. "The international Middle East Quartet in particular can make an important contribution to reviving the peace process in the region. In our search for a long-term peace solution for the Middle East we must not fail to make use of the new movement in the Israeli-Palestinian relations. I therefore welcome the Quartet’s intention to resume its meetings at the beginning of February. I have been proposing such a meeting for a long time and therefore emphatically support the endeavours of the German EU Presidency. The EU’s commitment in the Middle East will not weaken," emphasised Plassnik.

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