Foreign Minister Heiko Maas issued the following statement today (10 June) prior to his departure for Israel and Jordan:
My first foreign trip outside Europe since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic takes me to Israel and, from there, to Jordan. I look forward to meeting my new Israeli counterpart Gabi Ashkenazi in person. Our two countries enjoy special, close and amicable relations. Immediately after Mr Ashkenazi assumed office, we agreed to discuss our cooperation with regard to a number of bilateral, regional and international issues. Today, we want to fulfil that promise. I am also glad that I will meet Prime Minister Netanyahu again, and will see Defence Minister and Alternate Prime Minister Gantz for the first time.
Germany and Israel are celebrating 55 years of diplomatic relations this year. To mark this anniversary, we want to strengthen German-Israeli youth work and will continue our financial support for the Holocaust remembrance centre Yad Vashem. In July, Germany will assume the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, and cooperation between the EU and Israel will be among the issues discussed today. We will also discuss regional matters, including the crises in the region, in Iran and Syria.
Current developments in the Middle East peace process and possible annexation plans are a much-discussed topic in Israel – and in the European Union. Germany remains committed to the goal of a negotiated two-state solution. We will talk about this issue, as well, and I will underscore that we are prepared to support all initiatives to revive talks between Israelis and Palestinians.
I will then travel to Jordan. Talks with my Jordanian counterpart Ayman Safadi will focus on our cooperation within the Alliance for Multilateralism, in which work on a common response to coronavirus continues. Jordan is moreover an important partner for Germany in connection with regional issues, such as the conflict in Syria, the fight against ISIS and of course the Middle East peace process.
I am therefore glad that Foreign Minister Safadi and myself will hold a video conference with Palestinian Prime Minister Shtayyeh to discuss current developments.
Foreign Minister Maas is travelling today (10 June 2020) to Israel and Jordan. In Israel he will meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defence Minister and Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz and Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi.
Foreign Minister Maas and his Israeli counterpart will sign a legal agreement concerning financial support from the German Government for the Holocaust remembrance centre Yad Vashem for the years 2021-2031. A sum of one million euro has been paid annually since 2012. In April this year, the German Cabinet agreed to continue this support for another ten years.
After these meetings, Maas will fly to Amman, where he will meet Ayman Safadi, the Foreign Minister of Jordan. Maas and Safadi will hold a video conference with Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh.