Vienna, 30 April 2013 Press release

Lopatka: "More courage needed in Palestinian-Israeli peace process"

Lopatka discussed Middle East issues and the conflict in Syria with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister

Vienna, 30 April 2013 – "The stalemate in the Palestinian-Israeli peace process must come to an end. Both parties need more courage to resume negotiations about the two-state solution quickly. The first step, however, has to be taken by the Israelis and the Palestinians. Following the call made by Washington, it is now time for concrete progress to be made. The EU is prepared to support the peace process; and the Russian Federation, a member of the Middle East Quartet, is also playing an important role in this matter", State Secretary Reinhold Lopatka said after his meeting with the first Deputy Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Titov. Earlier today, State Secretary Lopatka had attended the working meeting of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Austrian President Heinz Fischer.

Another item on the agenda of the meeting between the Austrian State Secretary and the Russian Deputy Minister was the conflict in Syria. "The alleged use of chemical weapons must be clarified forthwith and unambiguously. The use of these cruel weapons is a crime that cannot go unpunished. Syrian Christians are alarmed at the kidnapping of two bishops in Syria (Mar Gregorios and Boulos Yazigi). We demand their immediate release and we are using our contacts in the region to offer our help in this matter. I have asked Deputy Minister Titov for Russia's support in dealing with the abduction.

"When we exchange the deeds of ratification in early June in Vienna, we will have removed all obstacles for the return of the Esterházy library. We are going to intensify our cultural cooperation with our strategic Russian partner even further over the next four years. The Austro-Russian season of cultural events will begin on 31 May", Lopatka concluded.

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