During their meeting in Germany, European Union Ministers backed the revived Arab Peace Initiative, and said that they will deal with ministers of the new Palestinian National Unity Government who are not members of the Hamas movement.
The Ministers, meeting in Bremen – Germany, called for a full support of the Arab Peace Plan that was originally presented in Beirut Arab summit back in 2002, and was revived in the recent Arab Summit in Riyadh.
The Initative calls for normal Arab relations with Israel in exchange for a complete Israeli withdrawal from the territories occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, and a just solution to the Palestinian refugee issue.
Talking to reporters after the EU ministers discussed the Middle East issue, Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos said that “the international community shouldn’t lose this opportunity for peace”. Moratinos added that EU ministers decided not to deal with Palestinian ministers who are members of the Hamas movement, but will deal with other ministers such as the foreign minister and the interior minister.
The EU decided to boycott the Hamas-led Palestinian government last year after it refused the conditions of the Quartet committee of “recognizing Israel, renouncing violence, and accepting the previously signed peace deals”. The position of Hamas is that it offers Israel an extended truce but will not recognize “an entity that is still occupying the Palestinian lands, and oppressing the people”.
Hamas and Fateh movements agreed on a unity government this month, Hamas movement agreed to respect past peace deals with Israel but refused to recognize it or stop armed resistance. Meanwhile, EU External Relations Commissioner, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, invited the new Palestinian Finance Minister Salaam Fayyad, an independent technocrat, to Brussels on April 11 to discuss ways to channel aid to the Palestinians.
Waldner added that this does not mean “an overnight resumption of aid”, and added that the temporary mechanism of transferring aid while bypassing the government “will have to remain in place for a while”.
Also, EU Foreign Policy Chief, Javier Solana, stated that the developments in the Middle East are encouraging and are indicating that for the first time in decades a comprehensive peace deal between Israel and the Arab countries can be reached.