Germany to lobby Palestinians and Israelis for dialogue | Middle East| News and analysis of events in the Arab world | DW | 31.01.2012
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Middle East

Germany to lobby Palestinians and Israelis for dialogue

Germany's foreign minister continues his Middle East tour in Israel and the Palestinian territories, where he and other diplomats hope to breathe life into peace negotiations.

Guido Westerwelle

Westerwelle began his tour of the region in Jordan

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon were due to arrive in Israel on Tuesday for two days of scheduled talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders.

The visit comes as Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is considering whether to break off peace negotiations with Israel over not having submitted proposals to resolve issues on borders and security, and for refusing to halt construction of Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

Abbas is due to consult the Arab League on Saturday before making a decision. Westerwelle and Ban's trips are seen as part of an international effort to keep the peace talks alive - even if they are on hiatus for the moment.

Ban said on Sunday that he felt "deep concern" for the stalled Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, calling on both parties to "develop serious proposals on borders and security, and to discuss them directly with each other."

Westerwelle tours Egyptian streets

The foreign minister called his visit to Egypt 'encouraging'

'Encouraging' talks with Egyptians

Westerwelle's arrival in Israel follows a trip to Egypt, where he met with the leader of the moderate Islamist Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party and representatives of other parliamentary groups.

"The results of the elections show a clear resolve and strong will of the Egyptian people to choose the path to democracy," Westerwelle told reporters on Tuesday after the talks. He said the meetings were "encouraging," but that "of course we're going to measure our partners here by their words, and above all by their actions."

The Freedom and Justice Party won 47 percent of the seats in parliament, while radical Islamist Salafists won 25 percent. Christians, who make up about 10 percent of the population, took only two percent of the seats in parliament.

Westerwelle began his five-day tour on Sunday in Jordan.

Author: Andrew Bowen (AFP, dpa)
Editor: Richard Connor

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