Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas issued the following statement today (10 November) on the death of Palestinian politician Saeb Erekat:
We are greatly saddened by the news of the passing of Saeb Erekat. We extend our condolences to his family and friends.
Dr Erekat made a major contribution to the Middle East peace process in his capacity as chief negotiator for the Palestinians over several decades. As a champion of Palestinian self-determination, he engaged in heated debates but always focused on negotiations with Israel.
Negotiating is said to be the highest art of diplomacy. That this art also has its limits is something Saeb Erekat saw time and again in his homeland so plagued by crisis. But he never lost hope or courage, even in the face of health problems in recent years.
We call on all political leaders to honour Dr Erekat’s legacy by continuing to actively pursue a peaceful two-state solution.
Dr Saeb Erekat served as the Palestinians’ chief negotiator from the 1990s onwards. He was a member of the Palestinian delegation from the beginning of the peace talks with Israel in Madrid and helped negotiate the Oslo Accords, among other achievements. Dr Erekat held various ministerial portfolios and was a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC). He also served as Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) from 2015.