Vienna, 1 September 2006 Press release

Plassnik: "Middle East - Europe has to take the lead in the political process"


Vienna, 1 September 2006 - "At their last meeting the EU Foreign Ministers expressed their resolute commitment to the implementation of UN resolution 1701 on Lebanon. The dramatic humanitarian and political consequences of the military hostilities in Lebanon and in the Palestinian territories oblige us to intensify our efforts for political solutions to the conflicts in the Middle East," said Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik today during the preparation for the informal meeting of EU Foreign Ministers which takes place on 1 and 2 September in Lappeenranta, Finland.

The Foreign Minister emphasised that the EU supported the endeavours of Palestinian President Abbas for a government of national unity. Such a government should also become a partner of the international community. "The EU, which is strongly committed in the region, must clearly formulate its expectations of the partners in the region. This also holds true for the talks between Hamas and Fatah. The political forces in the Palestinian territories must replace violence by negotiations. The Palestinian people can be offered a real perspective for a peaceful future not by violence but only by political solutions," continued Plassnik.

The EU Foreign Ministers will also discuss the Iranian answer to the offer made by the EU-3 (United Kingdom, France and Germany) and the USA, Russia and China. "Re-establishing confidence is a most arduous diplomatic task. For this we need a lot of patience and endurance. Nobody contests Iran’s right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy. Those who claim that this is not the case are deliberately trying to make us believe things that are not true. The aggressive and provocative rhetoric of the Iranian leadership has to be rejected. An attractive offer by the international community is now on the table, an offer that comprises state-of-the-art technology and know-how for the peaceful use of nuclear energy," concluded Plassnik.

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