Germany foreign minister calls for immediate Middle East talks
German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle called Monday for Israelis and Palestinians to return immediately to the negotiating table, dpa reported.
"Both sides have legitimate interests," Westerwelle told the UN General Assembly. "However, these interests are certainly not irreconcilable."
On Friday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas submitted an application to the UN seeking recognition of a Palestinian state. The Middle East diplomatic quartet had urged instead for a return to stalled peace negotiations within a month.
Westerwelle stressed that peace was possible but that it must come through talks, and threw German support behind the quartet efforts to get both sides back to negotiations.
He did not make clear how Germany would vote in the Security Council on Palestinian statehood and UN membership. Germany is serving a two-year term on the 15-member council.
The United States, which is one of five permanent members with veto power, has vowed to block the Palestinian bid on the council.
Like most Security Council members, Germany believes in a two-state solution in the Middle East.
"We do not want this (Palestinian) state to be founded sometime, only in the distant and indeterminate future," he said. "However, let there be no doubt: Israel's security is one of the fundamental principles that guide the Federal Republic of Germany."