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Germany's Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (left) with the Foreign Minister of the United Arab Emirates, Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, in Abu Dhabi

Photo: IMAGO/Thomas Trutschel / IMAGO/photothek

Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has travelled to the region for the third time since the Islamist Hamas attack on Israel. She appealed to the Arab Gulf states to work together with the West on a peace solution for the people of Israel and the Palestinian territories. "All people have an interest in peace and in living in dignity. All people have a right to live in peace and dignity," said the Green politician after talks with the Foreign Minister of the United Arab Emirates, Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, in Abu Dhabi.

This applies to Israelis as well as to Palestinians, and this "also unites the vast majority of people in the region. Like all people in this world, they want their children to have a future in peace," Baerbock said. The attack by the Islamist Hamas on Israel has shaken the sense of security of an entire region. "Our common message from all moderates to the extremist actors in the region is very clear: do not add fuel to the fire," the minister appealed.

Baerbock: Pulling in the same direction with Arab partners

Baerbock praised the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which had increased its support for the Palestinian relief agency UNRWA and also wanted to get involved in the care of wounded people from Gaza. "The United Arab Emirates, in particular, is a bridge between the different worlds" – not least because it has maintained full diplomatic relations with Israel since 2020. "The UAE has recognised that direct exchange and dialogue offer greater security and prosperity for all," said the Foreign Minister.

In addition, it was important that the UAE "clearly called Hamas terror by its name and recognized Israel's right to self-defense." Baerbock added: "We must not let the historic opportunity for a normalization of Israel's relationship with its Arab neighbors be destroyed." This is "the perfidious calculation of Hamas, which wants to drive a wedge between the international community. That's why it's so important that we pull together with our Arab partners."

Next stops: Saudi Arabia and Israel

Baerbock will then travel to the Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh. Talks with Qatar's Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, and Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud were scheduled for Saturday. Parallel to Baerbock's visit, the Arab League is also meeting in Riyadh for an emergency meeting on the Gaza war at the request of the Palestinians. Saudi Arabia currently holds the league presidency.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has now for the first time criticized the actions of the Israeli army in the Gaza Strip. His country condemns "the military aggression in the Gaza Strip, the targeted attacks on civilians and the ongoing violations of international humanitarian law by the Israeli occupation forces," the de facto ruler said at a meeting with African leaders.

It was bin Salman's first public statement on the war between Israel and the Islamist Hamas since October 7. Saudi Arabia underscores the "need to end this war and forced displacement and to create the conditions for the return to stability and the achievement of peace," he said.

In Israel, Baerbock will then meet Foreign Minister Eli Cohen and opposition leader Yair Lapid. A meeting with a representative of the Palestinian Authority is also planned.

Baerbock: Return to the two-state solution

Saudi Arabia and the Emirates, like Qatar, are seen as influential potential mediators, for example when it comes to freeing the Hamas hostages – but also for a future peace solution. Hamas had taken about 240 people hostage in its attack on Israel. According to the families, there are about 20 people among the deportees, who also have German passports. Hamas killed more than 1400,<> people in its attacks and massacres in the Israeli border area. The Israel Defense Forces moved into the densely populated coastal strip with ground troops.

The Federal Foreign Minister also appealed to the Gulf States to work on a joint initiative for a two-state solution. "Only a return to the promise of living side by side – in two states – can bring Israelis and Palestinians alike a life of peace, security and dignity," she said. In the efforts to secure the release of the hostages, there is only "a chance of success if we pull together with the Arab Gulf states."