Crisis zones on Europe’s doorstep – State Secretary Michaelis visits the Middle East 

Visit to a Bedouin village near Jericho

Visit to a Bedouin village near Jericho, © Auswärtiges Amt

30.01.2019 - Article

During his visit to the Middle East, Andreas Michaelis, State Secretary of the Federal Foreign Office, visited Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the Palestinian territories and Israel. The focus was on the conflict in Yemen.

State Secretary Michaelis travelled to Saudi Arabia on Monday (28 January), where he met the President of Yemen, Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi, and his Saudi Arabian counterpart, Minister of State Adel for Foreign Affairs al-Jubeir, for political consultations in Riyadh.

State Secretary Michaelis in talks with his Saudi Arabian counterpart, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir.
State Secretary Michaelis in talks with his Saudi Arabian counterpart, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir.© Auswärtiges Amt

The focus of both meetings was on the conflict in Yemen. Just under two months ago, the Stockholm Agreement laid the foundation for a political process towards peace in Yemen. As a member of the United Nations Security Council, Germany is now actively supporting the implementation of this agreement between the Yemeni parties to the conflict. The agreement includes a ceasefire for the port city of Hodeidah, the withdrawal of troops from the region and a mutual exchange of prisoners. However, the points agreed have so far not been implemented sufficiently. Politically and financially, the German Government is supporting this process, which is being led by Martin Griffiths, United Nations Special Envoy for Yemen. This support has included an international conference in Berlin in mid-January 2019.

The talks in Riyadh also focused on bilateral relations between Germany and Saudi Arabia and on the situation in the region.

State Secretary Michaelis travelled onwards to Jordan on 30 January. During his appointments with Prince Feisal bin Al Hussein, brother of King Abdullah II, and with Prime Minister Omar Razzaz and Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi, the focus was on domestic political reforms and the challenges facing Jordan as a result of the conflict in Syria.

At the end of his trip, State Secretary Michaelis visited the Palestinian territories and Israel, where his programme included talks with acting Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah and Israeli National Security Advisor Meir Ben-Shabbat. The deadlocked Middle East peace process and the challenges arising from it for the population of the Palestinian territories were discussed during these talks. In this context, State Secretary Michaelis visited an NGO project funded by Germany in a Bedouin village near Jericho. From the German Government’s viewpoint, only a negotiated two state solution can meet the legitimate demands of both sides and permanently resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Visit to the Israeli border to Lebanon.
Visit to the Israeli border to Lebanon.© Auswärtiges Amt

The threat posed to Israel by Hezbollah was also discussed during the State Secretary’s visit. Briefing at the Israeli border to Lebanon was thus part of the programme. The German Government’s stance is clear – Germany has historic responsibility towards Israel, and the country’s security is a key priority for Germany.


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