Germany will oppose ‘unilateral’ Palestinian statehood – Says Chancellor Angela MerkelEurope, Featured Articles, GERMANY News/Features in German, Middle East
Chancellor Angela Merkel has voiced her government’s opposition to a proposed United Nations resolution creating an independent Palestinian state.
Speaking at a joint press conference in Berlin Thursday after talks with visiting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Chancellor Merkel reiterated that “The Federal Republic of Germany is championing a two-state solution”, adding that “Any kind of unilateral recognition does not promote this goal. This will be our position in September.”
The Palestinian Authority is intensely lobbying the United Nations General Assembly to skip direct Israeli-Palestinian talks and recognize a Palestinian state with a UN resolution in September.
Asked whether she feels frustrated talking to Netanyahu, Merkel said: “When I talk to the prime minister, I am never put out, never irritated,” stressing that “Our conversations are very close, very candid. They are fun. Apart from being fun, they are allowing us to make progress.”
Merkel said the strains reported in the media in February are “not a realistic portrayal of what happened” emphasising that the German-Israeli relationship is very intense and close.
For his part, Netanyahu said his talks with the Chancellor were “candid and open” stressing that Israel consider Germany and Chancellor Merkel “a great friend of Israel, a great champion of Israel’s security.”
The two leaders also discussed Iran’s nuclear programme which Chancellor Merkel described as “more than ever a threat. Everything has to be done to prevent Iran from possessing nuclear weapons.”
Prime Minister Netanyahu observed that “Teheran thinks they are immune.” He called on the international community to hold the Iranian regime responsible “for the brutality to its own people,” adding that “we would like to see the rest of the countries in this vast region – from Morocco to Afghanistan – move toward democracy.”
Netanyahu said he hope the changes in the Arab world would lead to a democratic revolution, as in 1989 in Eastern Europe, not like the 1979 revolution that ushered in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The Israeli prime minister said it is important that the changes in the Middle East region “move toward progress and modernity and not toward medievalism and theocracy.”
Speaking on efforts by German mediator and intelligence agent Gerhard Conrad to secure the release of Gilad Schalit from his Hamas captors, Merkel said “We have only one hope – that Gilad Schalit will be released. I wish his family and relatives nothing but the best. I met with them.”
She repeatedly stressed the significance of a two-state solution, placing emphasis on the “Jewi9sh state of Israel and a Palestinian state” existing side-by-side in a stable Middle East region.
Merkel stressed: “The standstill needs to be overcome” and the “aim is the two-state solution.”
By Jennifer Hill, ANA Diplomatic Correspondent, Berlin