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Meetings Calendar 2006
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Press Releases

10.03.2006

Plassnik: Our message to the future Palestinian government has not changed

Middle East and Iran the focus on the first day of the Informal Meeting of Foreign Ministers

 

The two-day Informal Meeting of Foreign Ministers chaired by Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik began in Salzburg on Friday, 10 March. The discussions on the first day centred on the situation in the Middle East and Iran, the dialogue of cultures and religions and the forthcoming elections in Ukraine and Belarus.

“Following the election victory of Hamas we face a new and difficult situation on the ground in the Middle East, which calls for careful evaluation and monitoring. Business as usual is not an option in these circumstances; when Hamas won the elections, we made our message very clear both in the European Union and within the international community. This message has not changed”, Minister Plassnik stated. She stressed the importance in this transition period of clearly communicating what the joint expectations were of the future Palestinian government. “Our aim is: non-violence including the laying down of arms, recognition of Israel’s right to exist and fulfilment of the existing agreements”, Plassnik explained. While the European Union wished to continue providing financial assistance to the Palestinian people, support for terrorist purposes was out of the question, she added. “It is important to get this message across. It is up to the future government what they do with that message.”

Commenting on Iran, Minister Plassnik said: “To make matters clear, Iran’s right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes is not in doubt. But that is not what the current debate is about. The latest report by the Atomic Energy Agency showed there is still a great deal of uncertainty and lack of clarity. The basis of trust must urgently be re-established. The international community continues to stand firm on this issue. There is still time, an opportunity and the will for a solution through diplomacy”, according to Plassnik. What was also important now was to improve contact with civil society in Iran to explain the international community’s message to the Iranian people.

 

Date: 11.03.2006