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Middle East peace envoy pushes to achieve two-state solution to resolve Gaza conflict

European Union Special Representative for the Middle East Peace Process Sven Koopmans speaks of the  Israel-Palestine conflict during an interview with The Korea Times at the Embassy of the European Union in Seoul, April 1. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-suk

Sven Koopmans, the European Union’s special representative for the Middle East peace process, emphasized the imperative of establishing Palestine and Israel as neighbors in peace and security, or a two-state solution, to resolve the decades-old conflict in the Middle East.Appointed by the 27 foreign ministers of the European Union, Koopmans operates closely with EU High Representative Josep Borrell, overseeing foreign and security policy for the entire EU, with a focus on the Israeli-Palestinian and Arab-Israeli conflicts.”I mean, right now, we do not have the two-state solution. What does the two-state solution mean? It means you have an Israel which already exists but feels safe and a Palestinian state that is free now that doesn’t yet exist, and all in a much improved regional setting,” he said during an interview with The Korea Times in Seoul, April 1.Koopmans became the first EU envoy for peace in the Middle East to make an official visit to Seoul. During his three-day visit to Korea, he engaged in high-level discussions with government officials, including the vice minister of foreign affairs, to explore avenues for collaboration on key priorities.Despite widespread international support for the two-state solution, Koopmans highlighted the current reality of “seemingly unending occupation” in the region. He stressed, “Now there is a reality but it’s not a solution. I have not heard from anyone, also from Mr. Netanyahu, a better solution. So we have to keep working on this.”

He emphasized that the U.S.-led mediation spanning decades has failed to produce fruitful results in resolving the Israel-Palestine conflict. Additionally, he pointed out that the EU is taking steps alongside U.S. efforts to ease tensions in the region.“We are all used to having American-led mediation between the Israelis and the Palestinians and they have tried — I mean many previous American presidents have tried this — and it never quite worked,” he said. “The European Union has taken the initiative together with Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and the Arab League to try to set up the beginning of a peace process.” Acknowledging the challenges, Koopmans emphasized the immediate priority of “ending the suffering in Gaza” and “keeping the region calm.” He noted that progress on these fronts is essential before meaningful discussions on the two-state solution can advance.Koopmans said the first priority is to “help end the suffering” and alleviate the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, where ongoing conflict has resulted in immense suffering for civilians.He says the humanitarian situation in Gaza is dire. The conflict has led to significant loss of life, with over 32,000 people killed, and has left thousands more in urgent need of food, medical supplies and humanitarian assistance.”You have so many people who have no access to food, to medicine. The hospitals do not work, pregnant women do not have enough to feed themselves, and children are dying of starvation right now in Gaza,” he said.He emphasized the vital importance of delivering necessary aid under any circumstances, regardless of whether hostages have been released.

“All these things need to happen. They all need to happen right now,” he said. “You cannot say we will only support food for children when the hostages are released. No food for children right now, hostages out right now. You cannot tie one to the other.”Reflecting on recent developments in the Middle East, particularly the conflict between Israel and Hamas, Koopmans expressed support for ongoing mediation efforts led by Egypt, Qatar and the United States. Despite the complexities involved, he reiterated the EU’s commitment to facilitating dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians, to achieve a sustainable peace agreement.Koopmans says dialogue and negotiation are essential to resolving the longstanding conflicts in the Middle East. The EU stands ready to support efforts to bring about a cease-fire and create conditions for meaningful peace talks.Addressing concerns over Israel’s stance on the two-state solution, Koopmans underscored the EU’s unwavering support for this framework, which has long been endorsed by the international community. While acknowledging the challenges posed by divisions within the Palestinian leadership and Israel’s political landscape, he emphasized the need for continued diplomatic efforts to advance the peace process.In addition to promoting peace talks, Koopmans emphasized the importance of addressing broader regional security concerns, including the escalating tensions between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon. He warned against the potential for further violence and urged all parties to exercise restraint to prevent a wider conflict with devastating consequences for the region.Amid these challenges, Koopmans highlighted the role of international organizations, including the United Nations, in promoting peace and stability in the Middle East. He expressed gratitude for Korea’s contributions to humanitarian efforts in the region and emphasized the importance of continued collaboration between the EU and 온라인카지노 Korea within the framework of the U.N. Security Council.


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