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Palestinian Foreign Minister visits Berlin Palestinian territories

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki and Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, followed by the delegation, walk down a corridor in the Federal Foreign Office, with everyone wearing a face mask.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki and Foreign Minister Heiko Maas have met for the first time in Berlin., © Thomas Koehler/photothek.de

17.11.2020 - Article

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has met his Palestinian counterpart Riyad al-Maliki in Berlin. Their talks focused on current developments in the Middle East peace process and the fight against COVID‑19 in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Developments in the Middle East peace process

A great deal has happened since the two Foreign Ministers last met in April 2018. The normalisation of diplomatic relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain has changed the region. Germany has expressly welcomed the agreements. The German Government believes that the newly created momentum must also lead to new input for the deadlocked Middle East peace process.

Germany stands ready with its partners in the EU and the region to support steps towards direct talks between Israelis and Palestinians, such as in a format with Egypt, France and Jordan. Foreign Minister Maas and his Palestinian counterpart al-Maliki discussed what is needed for rapprochement. In order to make new negotiations possible, the German Government believes that confidence-building measures and constructive proposals are needed ‒ including from the Palestinian side. Germany also remains convinced that a negotiated two-state solution will do justice both to Palestinians’ rights and Israel’s security interests.

Support in the COVID-19 pandemic

Decisive action by political leaders and a strict lockdown helped to keep the number of cases low in the Palestinian territories during the first wave of the COVID‑19 pandemic. Numbers are now rising rapidly, particularly in the Gaza Strip.

Germany is providing humanitarian assistance and has increased its support under COVID‑19 aid measures. The Federal Foreign Office has provided an additional €20 million for UNRWA measures to contain the coronavirus. The German Government also supplied 50 ventilators to the Palestinian Authority in October. Foreign Minister Maas promised his Palestinian counterpart that Germany and the European Union would continue to support the Palestinian Authority in the fight against the spread of the coronavirus.

Elections and cooperation with the EU

In addition to their talks on the COVID‑19 pandemic, the two Foreign Ministers discussed domestic developments in the Palestinian territories. Palestinian leaders in Ramallah have announced elections to be held next year. Germany wants to support higher political participation by Palestinians in this important step. Foreign Minister al-Maliki will also discuss the domestic situation and bilateral cooperation with EU member states later this week at the EU Foreign Affairs Council. The EU is one of the largest bilateral donors to the Palestinian territories.

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