Abbas returns to Ramallah from US.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas genuinely wants to reach a solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict, Luxembourg’s visiting Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn told President Shimon Peres at Kfar Hamaccabiah in Ramat Gan on Monday.
Following meetings with the Palestinian Authority’s President Mahmoud Abbas and Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki in Ramallah on Saturday, Asselborn told Peres he now understands how critical the current period is to both sides in the peace negotiations.
Asselborn who also went to the Gaza Strip, updated Peres on his meetings with the Palestinian leadership and declared that the peace process must continue until the conflict is resolved, and there are two states for two peoples.
To reach a solution, courageous decisions have to be made, Asselborn said. He underscored that a freeze on settlement construction would benefit the peace process.
In Ramallah, Asselborn emphasized Luxembourg’s support for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state within the pre-1967 borders with east Jerusalem as its capital.
“Israel has to completely cease the settlement policy as the settlements are illegal according to international law,” he told reporters.
He called for Israel to lift the “siege” on the Gaza Strip and to reopen border crossings given the dire humanitarian conditions he saw there.
In his conversation with Peres, Asselborn said he was aware of the importance of Israel’s security needs, but hoped a way could be found to maintain security while improving the quality of life for the citizens of Gaza.
Peres said Europe could help the peace process by standing on the side of peace and against those who fire rockets at innocent civilians.
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