'Hamas win complicates matters'

German FM Steinmeier speaks to the 'Post' ahead of a speech to AJC leaders.

hamas flag boy 298 (photo credit: AP)
hamas flag boy 298
(photo credit: AP)
Since the election of Hamas to the Palestinian Authority government, the situation "has become more difficult" from a diplomatic perspective, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told The Jerusalem Post Wednesday. He reiterated Germany's "decisive" commitment to the three principles articulated by the Quartet and required of Hamas - a cessation of violence, recognition of Israel and acceptance of previous agreements between Israel and the PA - as a condition for EU aid to the PA. Steinmeier spoke with the Post ahead of a speech to leaders of the American Jewish Committee in honor of the organization's 100th anniversary. He said that Germany acknowledges the Hamas victory had made the prospect of a peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict more distant, and that for now "it's up to the government of the Palestinians" to act. In his speech, Steinmeier also addressed the need to have a strong relationship with the US, a relationship that has been strained in recent years. "A good and close relationship with the North Americans has an equally essential meaning as our connection to Europe," he said. He stressed the common values of the two peoples. He also called Germany's relationship with Israel "unique" given Germany's treatment of the Jews and said his country "will counter any efforts to challenge the right of the existence of Israel." On the subject of Iran, Steinmeier criticized Teheran for a "confrontational policy" which challenged the authority of the International Atomic Energy Agency and the international community. He called on Iran to work with the international community to find solutions to their disagreements. AJC head David Harris told the audience that Berlin had been chosen to host the anniversary celebrations because of Germany's past and warned that in the future all of Europe must stand strong against terrorism and the threat Hamas represents to Israel.