Germany ‘Concerned’ Over Annexation Plan, FM Tells Israeli Counterpart

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas met on Wednesday with his Israeli counterpart, Gabi Ashkenazi, and stressed Berlin's "serious and honest concern" over Israel's stated intention to begin annexing parts of the West Bank on July 1. Maas is also cureently meeting with Defense Minister Benny Gantz. 

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Maas landed in Israel earlier on Wednesday for a visit, and will also be meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, alongside his meetings with Gantz and Ashkenazi.

Following their meeting, Ashkenazi and Maas delivered statements to the media. Ashkenazi called U.S. President Donald Trump's Middle East peace plan "an important milestone for the region," and added it represents a significant opportunity that Israel intends to pursue "responsibly and in full coordination with the United States," while maintaining current and future peace agreements, though he did not specifiy with which countries.

– Gabi

Welcome to Israel @HeikoMaas.
Looking forward to discussing ways to further strengthen 🇮🇱 🇩🇪 relations as well as regional challenges and opportunities.

— גבי אשכנזי – Gabi Ashkenazi (@Gabi_Ashkenazi) June 10, 2020

He also said Israel would always take into consideration Germany's position on the matter as its close friend, and noted that its assumption of the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union in July offers Israel a chance to strenghten its relations with the union.

He later added he expects Berlin to wait for Israel's final decision before they decide how to respond. According to Ashkenazi, maps for the plan have not been drawn up yet.

Maas said that annexation was discussed during the meeting and that he expressed his "serious and honest concern" over the matter as a special friend of Israel. Annexation does not uphold international law, Maas said, and reiterated Germany's support for a two-state solution and the resumption of peace talks.

He stressed that the two did not discuss a "price tag" for annexation, and that Germany seeks to have a dialogue on the subject. "I came here to understand what this new government's plans are." Maas commended Ashkenazi statement and said Israel seeks dialogue.