By Kawther Salam - Vienna, Austria - October 17, 2009
During a recent press conference, Austrian Foreign Minister Dr. Michael Spindelegger called for a stop of construction of Jewish squatter colonies in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, for a removal of the outposts emplaced since 2001, and for an end of the Israeli “blockade policy”, stressing that “a peace process in the Middle East that deserves this name would be in Israel’s very own interest”. Minister Spindelegger gave this press conference on 14 October 2009, at the end of a visit by israeli foreign minister Liebermann in Austria. The visit had previously been announced by Liebermann, implying that Austria, among other countries, “had not yet received his attention”, as if his dropping by was a great favor to these countries. The full text of the press release of the Austrian foreign ministry follows (emphasis mine):
“There will be no success overnight in the Middle East. Yet we must exploit every opportunity for movement”, said Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger after his meeting with Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman in Vienna. “A peace process in the Middle East that deserves this name would be in Israel’s very own interest. The development of Israeli relations with Egypt and Jordan in recent decades shows that sustainable peace results in a concrete security gain for Israel”, stressed Spindelegger.
“No partner in the region can evade its responsibility”. Everyone must make their contribution toward creating an atmosphere that allows for serious negotiations”, said the Minister, who also described the clear expectations toward Israel: “We demand a credible stop to the illegal settlement policy, even in Eastern Jerusalem, and the dismantling of the outer posts that have been illegally erected since 2001. Likewise, Israel should put an end to the humanitarian suffering in the Gaza Strip and lift the suffocating blockade policy.”
At the same time, Palestinians must also make their contribution. “A lasting internal Palestinian reconciliation, a convincing rejection of violence, and the recognition of Israel’s right to exist are indispensable concessions for realizing the vision of an own state for the Palestinian people”, said Spindelegger.
The two Ministers also discussed the Goldstone report on the Gaza conflict in the beginning of the year. “The report, which is to be further debated by the UN Human Rights Council, contains serious accusations against both conflict parties. It should form the basis for Israel and the Palestinians to carry out comprehensive internal examinations into the accusations. The objective is also to build up mutual trust. There can be no blank spots on the map of humanitarian international law in the Middle East”, stressed Spindelegger.
Source (Austrian Foreign Ministry).