PM promises campaign for Palestinian state
14 March 2005, AMSTERDAM — Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende promised Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday that he will strive to help establish a viable, independent Palestinian state.
14 March 2005
AMSTERDAM — Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende promised Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday that he will strive to help establish a viable, independent Palestinian state.
But after meeting with the Palestinian leader, Balkenende refused to provide definite details. The Dutch prime minister said he would discuss the matter further within the sanctums of the European Union.
Prior to the meeting in Kamillah in the West Bank, Balkenende laid a wreath at the grave of deceased Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. The prime minister said he following an EU protocol.
Balkenende was also scheduled to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon later on Monday. On Tuesday, he will attend the re-opening of the Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial centre.
At the start of his trip, Balkenende said he felt great affinity with Israel. He warned against anti-Semitism and said criticism of Israel's policies must not bring into doubt the right of an Israeli state.
On the eve of his first trip to Israel and the Palestinian territories, the prime minister said on Friday that at present, there is a greater chance of peace in the Mid-East than for the past 50 years.
Under the past Dutch presidency of the European Union, the Dutch government put a lot of effort into intensifying EU involvement in the Mid-East peace process.
[Copyright Expatica News 2005]
Subject: Dutch news