President Fischer: The Military Interventions Hurt the Goals of Peace

DSC_9004The use of violence and armed force from one side or the other ruins those efforts. In my view, military interventions involving dramatic victim tolls have hurt the goals of peace and security more than they have served them” said the Austrian Federal President Dr. Heinz Fischer in his speech about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on the Occasion of the New Year’s Reception for the Diplomatic Corps on 12 January 2015

He added: “Unfortunately, in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, we could witness once more over the past year how much the efforts toward peace aimed at a just two-state solution compare to those of Sisyphus from the world of Greek mythology.

All that could also lead to a different assessment by the international community, which has already happened to some extent.

President Fischer said that the results of a recent vote on a resolution submitted by Jordan to the UN Security Council regarding the withdrawal of Israeli soldiers from the occupied territories and a comprehensive and just peace solution within a year also merits attention. Of the fifteen Security Council members, eight states voted YES, five abstained, and only Australia and the United States with its veto power voted against.

He criticized the Israeli occupation colonies in the occupied territories. He said: “an important criterion for Austria’s position on this topic is the question of whether illegal settlement activity in Palestinian territory continues unabated, thus further undermining a two-state solution.”

DSC_8964On the other hand, President Fischer said that his country does not support any policy against Israel, he said: “however, I also want to say with absolute clarity that Austria maintains good relations with Israel and does not support any policy against Israel. We support a policy of peace, the respect of international law and a policy that will make it possible for Israelis and Palestinians to coexist peacefully in two separate independent states.”

The Tragedy of Syrian Refugees

About the Syrian conflict and the tragedy of Syrian refugees, President Fischer said that the situation in Syria continues to be dramatic, chaotic and highly dangerous. In the last year as well, it has claimed countless deaths and deprived even many more people of their home country.

He added: “the Syrian civil war created an immense refugee tragedy with well over 3 million refugees in Syria’s neighbouring countries, as well as 6.5 million internally displaced people. This refugee tragedy requires special efforts and acts of solidarity by the international community.”

Syria’s neighbouring states deserve particular recognition for their most extraordinary efforts to help the refugees and for going beyond the limits of their capacities to accept refugees.

Consequently, all European countries are also called upon to make an adequate contribution to the best of their abilities to help these refugees as well as others.

Dr. Fischer Condemns Terrorist Attacks in Paris

DSC_8970At the beginning of his speech, President Fischer expressed his country deepest sympathy to the French President, to the terror victims and their families. He said: “to all French people and with distinct clarity we  join in the affirmation “Je suis Charlie”.”

He said: “we are therefore ever more shocked these days by the dramatic news of the heinous acts of terrorism in Paris.”

He Condemned the attack, he said: “this barbaric murder of numerous people also constitutes a targeted assault on the freedom of opinion and of the press and is condemned by us all in the strongest terms.”

President Fischer said” “terror must never be allowed to eliminate or even just curtail core values of our legal and constitutional order, and it never will.”

He added: “Austria stands firmly on the foundations of European fundamental rights and freedoms, of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights, of the peaceful dialogue of cultures and religions, and of the respect of other people and opinions. A clear, firm and joint defensive position against terror is imperative to protect these values and convictions.”

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