German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice held bilateral talks today on the fringes of the Meeting of the Middle East Quartet in Berlin. Following their talks, Foreign Minister Steinmeier announced that the Middle East Quartet has with this, its second meeting in such a short period, revived its original commitment to the Middle East. He also stressed how important it is for the international community to speak with a single voice.
The Minister emphasized that the Meeting took place at a difficult time in which the Palestinians are forming their government. The fact that Prime Minister Olmert and President Abbas have continued their direct talks at this time should be seen as a first success. In his opinion, trust will be built if the two sides talk to one another, rather than about one another. The Quartet will therefore discuss how it can contribute to the shared goal of an independent Palestinian state and stable conditions under which Palestinians and Israelis live together in peaceful neighbourliness.
In addition to this key matter, the bilateral talks between the German Foreign Minister and his US counterpart covered his travels in the Southern Caucasus, from where he returned yesterday, the situation in Kosovo and the issue of the Iranian nuclear programme.