Germany FM: Settlements make peace talks more difficult

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle on Wednesday addressed Israel's announcement that it would accelerate settlement construction in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, saying that "it's clear that the policy of continued settlement makes the renewal of talks more difficult."
Westerwelle urgently called on both Israelis and Palestinians to refrain making additional unilateral moves that delay the peace process."
A statement from the German Foreign Ministry added that the foreign minister is very concerned by the hardening of stances in the region. "Germany supports the goal in which an independent Palestinian state is established as part of a just solution of two states for two peoples," it added.
Criticizing the Palestinian application and subsequent acceptance to UNESCO, Westerwelle said he believes that two-states can be achieved only through negotiations. "There are no shortcuts, such as requests for membership in international organizations, though which one cannot change the reality on the ground and which are an obstacle to progress in negotiations."
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