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February 9, 2022 5:18 pm
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Germany Has ‘Historical Responsibility for Israeli Security,’ Says Foreign Minister Ahead of Mideast Trip

avatar by Sharon Wrobel

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba visit the Holodomor Museum in Kyiv, Ukraine February 7, 2022. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock embarked Wednesday on her inaugural visit to Israel, Egypt and Jordan, pledging support for Israel’s security and new efforts to revitalize the Middle East peace process.

“Even if the Middle East conflict seems like a crisis that has always existed for many, we cannot accept it as the status quo,” Baerbock said before her trip. “Every individual has the right to hold on to hope — especially the hope for peace.”

Baerbock arrived Wednesday in Israel, the first stop on her three-day Middle East tour that also takes her to the Palestinian Territories, Jordan and Egypt.

“During my visit to the Middle East I particularly want to emphasize that Germany remains a strong and reliable partner,” she stated. “I have deliberately made Israel the first stop on my trip. Building on the unique, close and diverse relations that we have with Israel is a top priority for the German government.”

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Baerbock emphasized that Germany has a “special historical responsibility for Israel’s security.”

The German foreign minister said she welcomed recent steps taken by the new Israeli government to bring Israelis and Palestinians closer.

On Thursday, Baerbock is scheduled to meet with Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and President Isaac Herzog. She is also set to visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem and lay a wreath to commemorate the six million Jews murdered by the Nazis.

Baerbock will hold talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki, as she reiterated Germany’s commitment to a negotiated two-state solution with a “functional, democratic and sovereign Palestinian state.”

“Jordan and Egypt, too, have a special role to play here as Israel’s direct neighbors and the oldest peace treaty partners,” Baerbock said. “With my colleagues there I intend to examine how we can work together to support further steps along the way towards a peace process.”

Baerbock expressed personal interest in becoming better acquainted with Israel and its people.

“It borders on a miracle that young people in our two countries are so close today,” Baerbock remarked. “We want to promote increased exchange among young people in order to safeguard this treasure for future generations — as a firm foundation on which to build our relations in the future and as an obligation never to allow our responsibility for the terrors of the Holocaust to be forgotten.”

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