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Austrian President Opposes Jerusalem Embassy Move

Alexander Van der Bellen said following a meeting with Palestinian President Abbas he supports the two-state solution and UNRWA's activity

Feb 14

17:49
2019

Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen said on Tuesday that he opposes moving foreign embassies in Israel to Jerusalem, stressing this stance has been agreed upon by European Union member states.

In a press conference with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas following a joint meeting in Ramallah, Van der Bellen said he supports the two-state solution and underlined the importance of the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees, after the United States announced in August that it was halting aid to UNRWA.

Some Austrian politicians, as well as leading Czech, Romanian and Hungarian figures, have voiced support for moving their respective embassies to Jerusalem, but no European nation followed through with such a move. The United States, Guatemala and Paraguay did do so last year, but the latter moved its embassy back to Tel Aviv in September.

The Austrian president visited the West Bank following a series of meetings in Israel earlier this week. He met President Reuven Rivlin on Monday, and said Austria shares responsibility for the Holocaust and aims for Jews to be able to live safely everywhere.

In a Tuesday meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, they discussed Iran, on which Austria is seen more hawkish than other EU states. Netanyahu thanked Van der Bellen for a declaration on the fight against anti-Semitism adopted by the EU in December, under Austria's presidency of the organization.

The two leaders also signed a memorandum of understanding on further cooperation in the fields of science, culture and education, as well as a joint declaration calling for future international cooperation on aid to developing nations.

The two leaders also signed a memorandum of understanding on further cooperation in the fields of science, culture and education, as well as a joint declaration calling for future international cooperation on aid to developing nations.

The two leaders also signed a memorandum of understanding on further cooperation in the fields of science, culture and education, as well as a joint declaration calling for future international cooperation on aid to developing nations.