New York, 26. September 2012 Press release

Spindelegger: "Political progress more urgently needed than ever before"

Spindelegger meets President of the Palestinian National Authority Abbas and the Foreign Ministers of Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates in New York

New York, 26 September 2012 – On the sidelines of the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York, Austrian Vice-Chancellor and Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger met the President of the Palestinian National Authority Mahmoud Abbas and made a statement on the Arab-Israeli conflict afterwards.

"The almost complete standstill in the negotiating process and hence the lack of any progress whatsoever in central political issues is highly alarming. Political progress is more urgently needed than ever before. Without political progress there will be no economic recovery, and without economic recovery, there will be no confidence in the peace process and the decision-makers", Spindelegger said and added that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict had been shifted out of international focus in the wake of the dramatic developments in Syria.

Spindelegger continued: "Israel must significantly ease the occupation regime to open up opportunities for regular economic and social activities and prove its readiness for serious negotiations by putting an end to its settlement activity."

On the Palestinian side, all parties, and the Hamas in particular, must commit themselves to unconditional non-violence and to a solution through negotiations. "They can only credibly represent the interests of their people if they act as one and are endowed with a democratic mandate", Spindelegger said and added: "The leaders of the Palestinians know that the international community supports the two-state solution and consequently an independent Palestinian state and a solution for Jerusalem as the capital of both states."

Spindelegger concluded: "Within the scope of our possibilities and the scope of the EU we encourage both sides to the conflict to exhaust all options of resuming negotiations and to offer the Palestinian, but also the Israeli people, the urgently demanded political perspective for a just and permanent solution."

The Vice-Chancellor also met the Foreign Ministers of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahayyan, and Tunisia, Dr. Rafik Abdessalem to discuss bilateral issues with them. Dr. Spindelegger invited the Tunisian Minister to visit Austria following his own visit to Tunisia in May 2012.

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