Palestinian state nuances Norwegian FM’s Middle East visit / News / The Foreigner

Palestinian state nuances Norwegian FM’s Middle East visit. Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre is on a brief visit to the Middle East this week. As expected, the question of a possible two-state solution is very much on his agenda. The peace talks between the Israelis and Palestinians are at a stalemate. Chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekrat reiterated the organisation’s refusal to return to the negotiating table before Israel halts construction of its settlements in east Jerusalem, and on the West Bank, reports The Jerusalem Post. “The peace talks with the Israeli government have ended and the situation requires the Palestinian Authority to make decisions as to how to solve the Palestinian issue,” he said yesterday, on the eve of his visit to Washington.

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Palestinian state nuances Norwegian FM’s Middle East visit

Published on Wednesday, 12th January, 2011 at 17:02 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson and Alexandra Spinu   .
Last Updated on 26th January 2011 at 21:58.

Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre is on a brief visit to the Middle East this week. As expected, the question of a possible two-state solution is very much on his agenda.

Jonas Gahr Støre
Jonas Gahr Støre
Photo: © 2010 Jarle Vines/Wikimedia Commons


On hold

The peace talks between the Israelis and Palestinians are at a stalemate. Chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekrat reiterated the organisation’s refusal to return to the negotiating table before Israel halts construction of its settlements in east Jerusalem, and on the West Bank, reports The Jerusalem Post.

“The peace talks with the Israeli government have ended and the situation requires the Palestinian Authority to make decisions as to how to solve the Palestinian issue,” he said yesterday, on the eve of his visit to Washington.

Mr Erekrat went on to accuse Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu’s government of demolishing what has been achieved so far.

“[It is] trying to scrap all that was agreed upon in previous sessions of negotiations. They want to take us back to point zero.”

FM Støre met with Jordanian PM Samir Rifai yesterday to discuss ways of trying to restart the stalled Israeli-Palestinian talks, as well as how to strengthen bilateral ties between Jordan and Norway, Jordanian news agency Petra reports.

At a joint press conference with his counterpart, Nasser Judeh, Minister Støre was briefed on efforts by King Abdullah to attain peace in the region.

“We agreed on the need to pool all efforts together to resume direct negotiations between the Palestinians and the Israelis free of any provocative unilateral actions,” said Minister Judeh, The Jordan Times reports

Criticism

The Norwegian FM also met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas later on during the day. Norway chairs the Ad-hoc Liaison Committee’s (AHLC) donor group, which is central in coordinating assistance to the Palestinian territories, as well as in rebuilding and developing Gaza long-term.

Salaam Fayyad, Palestine’s PM, has worked hard in the last two years, restoring the country’s institutions in the run-up to a possible two-state solution.

Last month, FM Støre announced Palestine was to get its own embassy in Oslo during Mr Fayyad’s visit to Norway, “in recognition of the work undertaken by the autonomous Palestinian authorities,” he said.

The Palestinian Embassy was established because the World Bank stated it believed Palestine was ready to assume the responsibilities of state.

Nevertheless, Norway has attracted heavy criticism from Israel for its actions. The Israeli Foreign Ministry’s Deputy Director-General for Western Europe, Naor Gilon, summoned Norway’s Chargé d’Affaires in Tel Aviv to lodge a protest.

Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM) Aviad Irvi at the Israeli Embassy in Oslo also censured Norway’s decision.

“All of us who are seriously interested in resuming the peace process and contributing to peace in the Middle East between Israel, the Palestinians, and our other neighbours can’t help wondering if this move by the Norwegian government will encourage the resumption of the peace talks,” said in a recent interview with the International Christian Embassy.

Discounted

Several South American countries have said they would recognise Palestine as nation, but Israeli officials have spent the last few weeks discounting the idea of European countries following suit, according to The Jerusalem Post. Prior to his Middle Eastern trip, FM Støre told NRK he was not ready to recognise Palestine as a state either.

“You cannot just declare “now we are a state” without negotiating its borders, on Jerusalem, about refugees, and water,” he said in an interview.

He also admitted Norway has no magic wand for a two-state solution, but believes it could be a key player in peace talks, as Norwegian diplomats know the parties well.

Meanwhile, peace talks for a two-state solution remain deadlocked. Minister Støre met with Opposition leader Tzipi Livni in Jerusalem today, who spoke openly about her feelings regarding other countries’ recognition of a Palestinian state.

“The stagnation of in the peace process is very problematic but the nations of the world should not be tempted into unilaterally declaring a Palestinian state outside the parameters of a political arrangement,” The Jerusalem Post reports.

After meeting PM Benjamin Netanyahu, Minister Støre remained somewhat pessimistic about any progress.

“Both parties have completely different perceptions of reality,” he told NTB.

The FM also met with Minister of Defence Ehud Barak, and will be holding political talks with Syria tomorrow prior to returning home.



Published on Wednesday, 12th January, 2011 at 17:02 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson and Alexandra Spinu   .
Last updated on 26th January 2011 at 21:58.

This post has the following tags: jonasgahrstoere, saeberekrat, palestine, two-state, israel, samirrifai, jordan, kingabdullah, nasserjudeh, mahmoudabbas, salaamfayyad, aviadirvi, tzipilivni, benjaminnetanyahu.





  
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