Crisis talks: Baerbock appeals to Gulf countries for peace work

Crisis discussions
Baerbock appeals to Gulf countries for peace work

“Don’t add any more fuel to the fire”: Annalena Baerbock. photo

© Michael Kappeler/dpa

Foreign Minister Baerbock is in the region for the third time since the Islamist Hamas attack on Israel. It’s about the hostages and the humanitarian situation in Gaza. And about the future.

Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has appealed to the Arab Gulf states to work together with the West on a peace solution for the people of Israel and the Palestinian territories.

“All people have an interest in peace and in living in dignity. All people have a right to live in peace and dignity,” said the Green politician after a conversation with the Foreign Minister of the United Arab Emirates, Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, in Abu Dhabi.

This applies equally to Israelis and Palestinians, and this “also unites the vast majority of people in the region. They, like all people in this world, want their children to have a future in peace,” said Baerbock. The attack on Israel by the Islamist Hamas has shaken the sense of security of an entire region. “Our common message from all moderates to the extremist actors in the region is very clear: Don’t add any more fuel to the fire,” appealed the minister.

Baerbock: Pulling together with Arab partners

Baerbock praised the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which had increased its support for the Palestinian relief organization UNRWA and also wanted to get involved in caring for the wounded from Gaza. “The United Arab Emirates in particular are a bridge between different worlds” – also because they have maintained full diplomatic relations with Israel since 2020. “The UAE has recognized that direct exchange and dialogue offers greater security and prosperity for all,” said the Foreign Minister.

It was also important that the UAE “clearly called out Hamas terror by its name and recognized Israel’s right to self-defense.” Baerbock added: “We must not let the historic opportunity to normalize Israel’s relationship with its Arab neighbors be ruined.” This is “the perfidious calculation of Hamas, which wants to drive a wedge between the international community. That’s why it’s so important that we pull together with our Arab partners.”

Baerbock also travels to Saudi Arabia and Israel

Baerbock then travels to the Saudi capital Riyadh. Talks were planned there on Saturday with the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Qatar, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, and the Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud. In Riyadh, parallel to Baerbock’s visit, the Arab League is also meeting for an emergency meeting on the Gaza war at the request of the Palestinians. Saudi Arabia currently chairs the league.

In Israel, Baerbock wants to meet Foreign Minister Eli Cohen and opposition leader Jair Lapid. A meeting with a representative of the Palestinian Authority is also planned.

Saudi Arabia, Emirates and Qatar influential intermediaries

Like Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the Emirates are seen as influential potential mediators, for example when it comes to freeing the Hamas hostages – but also for a future peace solution. Hamas took around 240 people hostage in its attack on Israel. According to the families, there are around 20 people among those abducted who also have German passports. Hamas killed more than 1,400 people in its attacks and massacres in the Israeli border area. The Israeli armed forces moved ground troops into the densely populated coastal strip.

Baerbock for a return to the two-state solution

The Federal Foreign Minister also appealed to the Gulf states to work on a joint initiative for a two-state solution. “Only a return to the promise of living side by side – in two states – can bring Israelis and Palestinians alike a life of peace, security and dignity,” she said. There is also only “a chance of success in the efforts to release the hostages if we pull together with the Arab Gulf states.”


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