During my visit to the Middle East I particularly want to emphasise that Germany remains a strong and reliable partner. The new Federal Government will not relax its efforts to promote peace and security for the people in the region. We believe that this is inextricably linked with the protection of human rights, as lasting stability can only be achieved where people have security and the opportunity for peaceful participation.
I have deliberately made Israel my first port of call. Building on the unique, close and diverse relations that we have with Israel is a top priority for the Federal Government. We stand by our special historical responsibility for Israel’s security and will continue to work to this end in a spirit of solidarity. Yet in my new role as Foreign Minister I am also eager to become better acquainted personally with Israel and its people. It is nothing short of a miracle that in our two countries young people particularly are now so close to one another. We want to promote increased exchange among young people in order to safeguard this treasure for future generations – as a firm foundation on which to build our relations in the future and as an obligation never to allow our responsibility for the terrors of the Holocaust to be forgotten.
Both in Israel and during the other stages of my trip one focus will be on the future of the Middle East peace process. Even though the Middle East conflict is a crisis that for many has always been simmering, we cannot accept it as the status quo. Every individual has the right to hold on to hope – especially the hope for peace. With the new Israeli Government, several steps were recently taken towards bringing Israelis and Palestinians closer, which we very much welcome. Jordan and Egypt, too, have a special role to play here as Israel’s direct neighbours and the oldest peace treaty partners. With my colleagues there I intend to examine how we can work together to support further steps along the way towards a peace process.
Germany abides by the goal of a negotiated two-state solution. To achieve this, there has to be a functional, democratic and sovereign Palestinian state in future. My talks in Ramallah will focus on necessary progress in the area of the rule of law and the organisation of elections as well as Germany’s support for institution-building effort.
Jordan is bearing the weight of all the crises and conflicts in the region like hardly any other country. It has become a refuge for millions of people over the past decades. Jordan is a crucial partner for us – not only in its role as a wise diplomatic mediator and factor for stability but also because only a secure and prospering Jordan can provide prospects for its people. Germany is supporting this development as the second largest donor of humanitarian assistance and development cooperation and will not leave Jordan to cope with this responsibility alone.
Egypt is an important partner not only with regard to the Middle East conflict but also for numerous regional challenges such as the conflict in Libya. This year, we will celebrate 70 years of diplomatic relations, and Egyptians have a keen interest in the German language and German culture. I want to build on this for the future and support Egypt in its endeavours to bolster civil society participation in political and social processes.
There are few places in the world where the threats posed by the climate crisis for people, nature and the economy as well as opportunities for sustainable transformation converge as they do in the Middle East. At all stages of my trip I intend to seek opportunities for greater cooperation in the field of climate and energy policy, whether in developing renewable energies, safeguarding water reserves or protecting natural resources. Egypt, as the host for the next Climate Change Conference, has a particularly important role to play – I will propose to my counterpart there that we jointly assume the chair of the Petersberg Climate Dialogue, which we will be hosting in July.