Vienna, 19 November 2009 - "We are currently missing the willingness and courage required for a serious negotiation process," stated Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger following talks with Hanan Ashrawi, a long-standing Palestinian parliamentarian and a key figure in the struggle for Palestinian independence and a democratic state.
Overcoming the split in the Palestinian camp was one of the key challenges. "Fatah and Hamas must arrive at a basic consensus on a constitutional and democratic legal system. If this proves impossible, all efforts for an independent state will remain futile. Austria acknowledges the great progress made under incumbent Prime Minister Fayyad, but without national reconciliation there will be no end to the current self-destructive rift. Hamas is called upon to make use of Egypt’s mediation efforts by renouncing violence in favour of a broad political process," Spindelegger went on.
"Israel’s continued settlement policy is increasingly becoming a means for targeted undermining of any peace process," stated the Foreign Minister, taking a clear stance on the announcement that new settlements would be built in East Jerusalem. "Israel must put an end to this one-sided policy on Palestinian territory. The increasing number of Israeli settlements on the West Bank and in East Jerusalem and the policy of cordoning off are destroying confidence in the political process, thereby hampering the economic and social development of the Palestinian Territories," continued Spindelegger.
"Our efforts continue to be aimed at an implementation of the two-state solution with Israel and Palestine as peaceful neighbours. The current impasse in the Middle East is a hotbed for hopelessness and extremism, deepening the rift between the peoples. In cooperation with the USA and the two other partners in the quartet, the EU will not hesitate, not even for a moment, to support the conflicting parties on their way back to the negotiating table,” concluded Spindelegger.
Federal Ministry for
European and international Affairs
Tel.: ++43 (0) 50 1150-3262, 4549, 4550
Fax: ++43 (0) 50 1159-213