Federal Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle on the second meeting of the German-Palestinian Steering Committee in Berlin. Published in the Arabic language daily Al‑Quds, London, 28 March 2012
Today, for the second time, the German-Palestinian Steering Committee will meet in Berlin, where I will welcome Prime Minister Fayyad at the Federal Foreign Office. Established in May 2010 by Germany’s Federal Government and the Palestinian Authority, the Steering Committee is a forum in which the ministers from both cabinets discuss the further expansion of state structures in the Palestinian territories. It has served as a model for other European partners, which have since followed suit, establishing similar formats for discussions with the Palestinian Authority.
Our goal remains to achieve a just two-state solution with Israel existing side by side with a viable, sovereign Palestinian state within secure and recognized borders. From our point of view, this is the only path to lasting peace in the Middle East.
The creation of effective state structures in the Palestinian territories is crucial for the success of such a two-state solution. I am confident that today’s meeting will send a clear signal of support for the successful course pursued by Prime Minister Fayyad.
Germany has been supporting the development of the Palestinian territories for decades. As one of the largest donors, we are helping to establish infrastructure, put the economy onto a sustainable footing, improve education, and build up Palestinian security forces. All these things are essential for a viable Palestinian state. Within the framework of the Steering Committee we want to determine how this reconstruction aid can be used in the most effective and sustainable way.
Today’s meeting takes place during a standstill in the Middle East peace process, a standstill that is a cause of concern worldwide. The direct talks begun in Amman have been on hold for weeks now. This hesitation is to no one’s advantage. There is real urgency, all the more so in a period of massive changes in the Arab world.
The Middle East Quartet has put forward sensible proposals for restarting peace talks. Both parties in this conflict now need to take up these proposals courageously and constructively, refraining from any unilateral provocations. This approach especially includes the meaningful suggestions on borders and security. In this spirit, the German Government is reaching out to both sides.
In discussions with my Palestinian partners, I encourage them to choose the path of substantial negotiations despite certain adversities, because our common goal remains a future for Palestine in enduring peace. I am sure that together with our Palestinian partners we can make a significant contribution to shaping this future.
Foreign Minister of the Federal Republic of Germany