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German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier
Steinmeier says settlement building is undermining the two-state solutionImage: AP

Stop the building

May 30, 2009

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has demanded that Israel put a stop to all settlement building in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, which many nations see as a major obstacle to a two-state solution.


In an interview for the German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung, published on Saturday, May 30, Steinmeier said it was "not acceptable" to build new settlements or expand existing ones in East Jerusalem or the West Bank.

Steinmeier called for fresh efforts in the Middle East peace process, and said the European Union and US President Barack Obama's administration needed to "speak with one voice."

The new government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has refused to freeze settlement activity, and has not agreed to a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine.

Multilateral talks

An Israeli settlement in East Jerusalem seen from a distance
Israel has been building settlements for decadesImage: AP

Within German diplomatic circles, the settlement activities are seen as undermining an increasingly precarious two-state solution.

European Union foreign ministers are meeting on June 15 to agree on a new joint position on developments in the Middle East.

Steinmeier said he was in favor of involving the entire region, including countries such as Syria and Lebanon, in resolution efforts.

"Regionally embedding talks between Palestinians and Israelis is crucial to the chances of success," the foreign minister said, adding that failure could not be an option.

Editor: Toma Tasovac

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