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Middle East visit: Closer cooperation between EU and Israel necessary - bridge-building in the peace process

Date

22 Jul 2016

Sections

Global Europe
Security

During a 3-day visit to the Middle East, Manfred Weber MEP, Chairman of the EPP Group in the European Parliament, has called for closer cooperation between the EU and Israel. At a meeting with Israel’s PM Benjamin Netanyahu, Manfred Weber underlined the need for more cooperation in the field of security but also in the fight against terror. “We can learn from Israel’s experience. We have to be able to defend ourselves. This is what the attacks we are currently facing are teaching us”, Weber said.

The Middle East peace process was one of the key points of discussion during Weber’s meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu. The EPP Group Chairman recalled the EU’s position in the framework of the Middle East Quartet, that it, together with the US, Russia and the United Nations, urges a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians.

“We respect the fact that Israel’s security concerns are at the forefront. Nevertheless, at the same time, it is crucial to keep building bridges. A permanent solution will not be possible without having a balanced approach”, underlined Weber. He also presented this approach during his meetings with representatives of the Palestinian Authority, including Deputy Prime Minister Ziad Abu Amr.

Dealing with the migration situation was the focus of Manfred Weber’s visit to Jordan, an important partner for Europe. He warned against neglecting the Middle East: "It is very important that Europe has a presence in the region. We need to have strong partnerships with the countries of the area if we really want a sustainable solution to the refugee crisis." On Wednesday, he visited two refugee camps in Jordan, including the Zaatari camp, where 80,000 Syrian refugees live. "On-the-spot support very close to the region of origin is the best way to help. For the civil war refugees, it is best if they can stay in the region", said Weber. Therefore the new partnership between the EU and Jordan is extremely important. From now on, Jordanian companies will be able to export their products more easily to the EU. In return, the country has the obligation of putting more Syrian refugees in regular jobs. There are currently more th an three million refugees living in Jordan.

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