Angela Merkel: The Honorable Prime Minister, Mr. Ehud Olmert, Dear colleagues, German and Israeli...
It was a unique experience for us today at Yad Vashem to unite with the memory of the Holocaust victims. It was important for us that you were there with us and I think it was very important that we began our consultations with a visit to Yad Vashem. It was an exceptional gesture on your part to be there with us.
The relations between our nations will always remain special. This is true also for our generation, the generation who is currently responsible for the policies of the Federal Republic of Germany. We know that we must find new ways of thinking if we wish to preserve the memory of the Holocaust even after its victims will no longer be with us. We are pleased that we are able to do this in cooperation with you and to discuss these things together. At the same time, we are aware of the fact that the special relations will remain so only if we shape together the present and future projects. Today's consultations between the German and Israeli governments are the best manifestation of this. They prove that our relations stand on a solid basis and that they are deeply rooted in our societies. This should be the goal, because only those who know themselves can discuss the problems, and those who discuss the problems can also find solutions. In this context, it was also very impressive to follow the projects of the various ministers. I believe that beyond the "classic" government ministries, such as the foreign ministries, defense ministries and economic ministries, there are entirely new possibilities for cooperation in the field of science, youth exchange and environmental protection. We must explore these possibilities and implement them.
We are here with you on Israel's 60th anniversary, and we extend to you the greetings of the Federal Government and the people of Germany. It is also clear to us that throughout the sixty years of Israel's existence, there have always been periods in which Israel was forced to fight for its security and defend its right to exist. We, of course, discussed also the threats which Israel faces. We discussed the fact that those threats to which you are exposed are threats aimed at us as well. We all wish to resolve the conflicts. We discussed the Annapolis process, the peace process, and were very pleased to learn that we see eye-to-eye on this issue and that the Government of Israel does not see any alternative to this peace process, not even under the very difficult circumstances which currently exist. We know that we can only make a very limited contribution to this process, but we would like to do whatever we can in order for the process to succeed. I know that today's talks also addressed the necessary means to achieve this. It is clear to us that the commitments undertaken by the parties must be preserved. We discussed that. It is also clear to us that a two-state solution is being formulated, a state for the Jewish people and a state for the Palestinian people. In the coming months we will do everything in our power - Prime Minister, you have set a time-frame - in order to support the negotiations, and if needed, talk with the parties.
We also discussed the Iranian threat. The world does not have to prove that Iran is working on a nuclear program. It is Iran which must show to the world, in a transparent manner, that it is not engaged in nuclear development. There are some doubts on this issue, and therefore, we are united in the opinion that we must do everything in our power, through sanctions, through steps by the European Union, but also through talks in the framework of the European Union, to exert as strong a pressure as possible on Iran. Germany supports a diplomatic solution to the conflict. I believe that we must continue along this policy. We support a policy which unites as many partners as possible in the world. The result is that the process often moves forward slowly, but I believe that this is the right path and that there is no substitute.
Our talks proved that there is a great deal of consensus between us. They also showed that we are still faced with many challenges which need to be resolved. Therefore, the cooperation between us will remain very intensive, not only during Israel's 60th year, but also beyond this time frame. It will be our honor to welcome you in Germany for the inter-governmental talks next year, at which time Germany will be celebrating its 60th anniversary and also the 20th anniversary since the fall of the Berlin Wall - a formative event, the historic impact of which is evident far beyond the borders of Europe. We will continue, through talks, to maintain close contact on different levels.
I thank you wholeheartedly for the hospitality and for the invitation to the inter-governmental consultations between Germany and Israel, and I extend my warmest greetings to the people of Israel.
Olmert an Merkel