WATCH HISTORIC EVENT: Emirati & Israeli Foreign Ministers Visit Holocaust Memorial In Berlin

Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi (Michele Tantussi/Pool Photo via AP), Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister of the United Arab Emirates (Photo: AP)

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The foreign ministers of the United Arab Emirates and Israel met in Berlin on Tuesday for talks that Germany hopes will strengthen nascent ties between the two nations and bolster broader Middle East peace efforts.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said it was a “great honor that the Israeli and Emirati foreign ministers have chosen Berlin as the location for their historic first meeting” since the two countries agreed to normalize relations in a U.S.-brokered deal.

The three foreign ministers also visited the Berlin Holocaust Memorial at the initiative of the Emirati foreign minister, according to Walla News reporter Barak Ravid

Maas told Bin Zayed that Ashkenazi is the son of a Holocaust survivor and Bin Zayed was interested in hearing further details. Ashkenazi’s father survived a concentration camp in Bulgaria and following the war, he moved to Israel and fought in Israel’s War of Independence

The agreement, signed at a White House ceremony last month, reflects the changing politics of the Middle East, in which shared concerns about archenemy Iran have largely overtaken traditional Arab support for the Palestinians, who reject the deal as a betrayal.

“The most important currency in diplomacy is trust, and I am personally grateful to both of my colleagues for placing this trust in Germany,” Maas said in a statement. “We are doing everything we can to be good hosts for the dialogue between the two countries on how to shape their future bilateral relations.”

Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi and Emirati Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan met, along with Maas, behind closed doors at a secluded government guest house on the outskirts of the German capital.

Maas said the “courageous peace agreement” between the two countries is “the first good news from the Mideast in a long time, and at the same time an opportunity for new movement in the dialogue between Israel and the Palestinians.”

Germany is a strong supporter of Israel, but at the same time has been critical of its settlement policies and also works closely with the Palestinians and is in favor of a Palestinian state as part of a “two state” solution.

Maas said “courage and trust” are what is needed in the Middle East peace process.

“We must seize this opportunity, and Germany and Europe want to help,” Maas said. “I hope that Berlin can offer a good framework to discuss further steps on this path.”

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem & AP)


  1. Trump condemns Holocausts ‘the most savage crimes’
    By ARON HELLER Associated Press
    Published: May. 23, 2017 at 10:34 AM EDT

    President Donald Trump paid a short visit to Israel’s national Holocaust memorial on Tuesday, calling the Nazi extermination of 6 million Jews “the most savage crime against God and his children” during the most sensitive stop on his two-day visit to Israel. Trump had come under criticism in some quarters for planning just a brief half-hour stop at Yad Vashem, .. Trump pleased his hosts in Israel by taking a strong stand in expressing sympathy for Holocaust victims and support for the Jewish state. In a solemn ceremony, Trump rekindled the memorial’s eternal flame and laid a wreath in honor of the 6 million Jews killed. A children’s choir sang and a cantor recited a special prayer for the dead.
    In brief comments, Trump called the Holocaust “history’s darkest hour.” “Millions of wonderful and beautiful lives – men, women and children – were extinguished as part of a systematic attempt to eliminate the Jewish people,” he said. “It is our solemn duty to remember, to mourn, to grieve and to honor every single life that was so cruelly and viciously taken.”