The international community should not wait for progress on the diplomatic front before providing much needed assistance to the Gaza Strip, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Monday as he toured the Palestinian enclave.
Gaza City (dpa) - Speaking almost a year after the 50-day war between Israel and Palestinian armed groups, he called the situation facing the enclave‘s 1.8 million residents "catastrophic."
German Foreign Minister Steinmeier received a Honorary Doctorate from Hebrew University of Jerusalem on the 31st of May 2015.
"We cannot wait to improve living conditions until talks about a two-state solution are back on track," said Steinmeier, who visited a United Nations girls school built with German support.
Despite international pledges of more than 5 billion dollars, little has been achieved in the enclave‘s reconstruction.
During talks held in Jerusalem and Ramallah on Sunday, the German foreign minister had called for a relaunch of Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, stressing however that such negotiations "shouldn‘t last forever."
A Hamas source, meanwhile, denied rumours that the German minister‘s arrival was related to covert talks on a prisoner exchange deal between Israel and Hamas.
Abdullah Barghouti, an explosives engineer connected to Hamas, had earlier given an unauthorized interview from an Israeli jail to a Gaza radio station urging the organization‘s military wing not to sign a new prisoner exchange deal with Israel.
In 2011, Germany helped broker a prisoners swap that saw Hamas free Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier who had been held hostage in Gaza for over five years, in exchange for 1,027 Palestinian militants jailed in Israel.
Steinmeier was scheduled to fly to Paris later on Monday for a meeting of foreign ministers on the war against Islamic State.
Greece's parliament on Tuesday said it will move ahead with a renewed demand to pursue World War II reparations from Germany. Speaking in parliament, leftist Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said it was a moral obligation for Greece to seek war reparations and the return of a forced loan given to the Nazis by Greece's Central Bank.
The threat of terrorist attacks in the European Union remains high, the head of the bloc's law-enforcement agency said Tuesday, warning of the dangers posed by the Islamic State extremist militia and the al-Qaeda terrorist group.
EU plans to stem migration in the Mediterranean need to be followed up by broader strategies that address the reasons why people leave their homes and seek to come to Europe, international organizations said Friday in Geneva.
Prime Minister Netanyahu‘s conservative Likud party emerged as the big winner in March elections. Six weeks later, the complex negotiations that come with Israel's multi-party system leave him with a problematic coalition.