Geneva, 19 Jumadil Awwal 1436/10 March 2015 (MINA) – Swiss President Simonetta Sommaruga has voiced her support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“Switzerland has worked for years for a solution to the conflict between Israel and Palestine. Our aim is to achieve peace,” Sommaruga said on Monday during a meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the Swiss capital, Bern.
Abbas’s visit to Switzerland came a day after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s alleged rejection of a “two-state solution” of the perennial Middle East conflict, ahead of national elections on March 17, Anadolu Agency quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) as reporting.
Switzerland does not recognize Palestine as an independent state but it voted in favor of granting Palestine a non-member observer status at the UN in November 2014.
Abbas, for his part, said that it was up to Switzerland as a sovereign country whether to recognize Palestine as an independent state or not.
He also met Swiss Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter. Abbas is scheduled to meet Swiss lawmakers on Tuesday.
On Sunday, in a statement, the office of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu denied that he had backtracked on a commitment – pronounced in a 2009 speech at Israel’s Bar Ilan University – to seek a two-state solution with the Palestinians.
On Saturday, a Likud campaign pamphlet read that Netanyahu “announced that the Bar Ilan speech is null and void…(and that his) entire political biography is a fight against the creation of a Palestinian state.”
Since its establishment 66 years ago, Israel has continued to appropriate Palestinian land in the West Bank – on which it continues to build settlements – in a breach of international law.
Palestinians, for their part, demand the establishment of an independent Palestinian state in the Gaza Strip and West Bank, with East Jerusalem as its capital. (T/P010/P3)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)