Rau asks US for 'practical cooperation' on Mideast

9th June 2004, Comments 0 comments

9 June 2004 , BERLIN - Germany's outgoing President Johannes Rau Wednesday called on the United States to display "practical cooperation" with all parties in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Addressing a conference attended by Israeli and Palestinian dignitaries, Rau indirectly accused Washington of seeking to take sides. Noting that Russia, the European Union and the United Nations were also involved in the peace process, Rau said, "While it is right and proper that one member must play first violin, it

9 June 2004

BERLIN - Germany's outgoing President Johannes Rau Wednesday called on the United States to display "practical cooperation" with all parties in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Addressing a conference attended by Israeli and Palestinian dignitaries, Rau indirectly accused Washington of seeking to take sides.

Noting that Russia, the European Union and the United Nations were also involved in the peace process, Rau said, "While it is right and proper that one member must play first violin, it is not right for that member to play a different melody."

Referring to US support for Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's plan for Israeli settlements, Rau added, "I would like to see more willingness on the American side for practical cooperation."

Turning to European allies, he added, "And I would like to see more determination on the European side not to be relegated to the sidelines."

Rau's remarks came at the outset of a two-day conference sponsored by separate political foundations funded by Germany's two largest political parties, the Social Democratic Party (SPD) and the Christian Democratic Union (CDU).

Participants include former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Geneva Initiative architects Yossi Beilin and Yassir Abed Rabbo.

A lasting ceasefire between Israelis and Palestinians was the single most important precondition for pushing the peace process forward, the German president said.

"The Palestinian Autonomy Authority must do everything in its power to combat terrorist activities," Rau said.

That said, Israel's right to defend itself constituted "no blank cheque" for Israel to contravene international law.

"No one has the right to be prosecutor, judge and executioner all rolled in one," he said, stressing the need for direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

"Genuine peace can only be achieved if both sides are prepared to make painful sacrifices," said Rau.

DPA

Subject: German news 

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