Timmermans urges Netanyahu and Abbas to embrace US peace initiative
Foreign minister Frans Timmermans today discussed the peace initiative taken by US President Barrack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry with Palestinian leaders in Ramallah, urging the Palestinians to embrace the initiative. Mr Timmermans conveyed the same message yesterday to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
‘President Obama and Secretary Kerry’s initiative is the best and indeed only way to get the peace process moving again,’ said the foreign minister. ‘Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas both face a historic decision. If they want to go down in history as men who put Israel and the Palestinians on the path to peace, they have to seize this unique opportunity to restart negotiations. If they miss this chance, pence may be out of reach for a long time to come.’
Mr Timmermans met in Ramallah with President Mahmoud Abbas, Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah and foreign minister Riad Malki.
Prime Minister Hamdallah and Mr Timmermans agreed to hold biennial cooperation forums, as the Dutch minister agreed yesterday with Prime Minister Netanyahu. The Netherlands and the Palestinian Authority plan to work together in such fields as water management and agriculture, not only at government level but also with the private sector and knowledge institutions.
Mr Timmermans and Mr Malki discussed the political dialogue between the Netherlands and the Palestinian Authority, including human rights.
The Dutch foreign minister also visited the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), meeting UNRWA Commissioner-General Filippo Grandi and a group of young Palestinians.
This morning Mr Timmermans had talks in Israel with President Shimon Peres and Israeli Labour Party leader Shelly Yachimovich. He also laid a wreath at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Hall of Remembrance.
On Wednesday Mr Timmermans will meet Tony Blair, the Representative of the Middle East Quartet (the UN, US, EU and Russia), to discuss Quartet investments in the Palestinian economy in the interests of a peace settlement with Israel.