Foreign Minister Heiko Maas today (10 January) issued the following statement prior to his departure for Cairo:
We have seen in the last few months that there can also be good news in the Middle East. The normalisation processes between Israel and, at the last count, four Arab states in the region show that. The resulting momentum must now be maintained and used to advance the Middle East peace process between Israel and the Palestinians. We know that the positive developments of the last few months will inevitably come to a halt if both sides do not put any concrete offers on the table. That could result in a continued standstill and instability.
That’s why I will be meeting my colleagues from Egypt, France and Jordan in Cairo tomorrow. We want to discuss what concrete steps might help to build up trust between Israel and the Palestinians so as to enable rapprochement and renewed negotiations between the two sides.
We are quite clear about how difficult a task this is. Major policy moves are imminent both in Washington and in Israel; until then, the room for manoeuvre on all sides is limited. But even small steps in each other’s direction are important in preventing a further drifting apart.
Germany, France, Egypt and Jordan have close contacts to both sides, but also to the key international partners. We are united in our belief that the two-state solution remains the best resolution to the conflict. As a European-Arab voice, we want to help preserve and revitalise this prospect for peace.
We want to discuss this with the new US Administration soon. The change of government in Washington provides an opportunity for the United States once again to play a bigger role as an honest broker between Israelis and Palestinians.
Foreign Minister Maas is travelling to Egypt on Sunday for talks on Monday in the Munich format with his French, Jordanian and Egyptian counterparts. This is the fourth time that the four Foreign Ministers have met in this format. The first meeting took place in February 2020 on the fringes of the Munich Security Conference. A second meeting on 7 July 2020 focused on Israeli plans to annex parts of the West Bank. The Foreign Ministers last met in Amman on 24 September 2020 to talk about the Abraham Accords’ impact on the Middle East peace process.