|German defense minister 'skeptical' of Mecca deal |
By Haaretz Staff
Germany's minister of defense, Franz Josef Jung, says he "judges very, very skeptically" the Mecca agreement between Hamas and Fatah, with regard to its attitude toward Israel.
"We cannot accept the non-recognition of the State of Israel," the minister told a German-Jewish study conference, in Berlin, Monday night. Minister Jung, a leader of the CDU (Christian Democratic Union), said that in general he felt the Mecca agreement was a favorable development.
His aides said later that Germany's position was that the agreement would be tested in the implementation.
On Iran, Jung pledged that Germany "must do everything possible to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons... our efforts are directed toward a diplomatic solution... we can see developments already [in response to the sanctions imposed on Iran]. The more Iran is isolated, the more progress we shall see if we continue the step-by-step implementation of international sanctions."
Jung declined an invitation from an Israeli participant at the conference, which was sponsored by the Bertelsmann Foundation, to declare categorically that the military option was "not off the table." Earlier in the day, the chairman of the SPD (Social Democratic Party), Kurt Beck, insisted repeatedly that "the military option is not on the table," but a leading foreign affairs spokeman for the CDU, Eckart Von Klaeden, insisted with equal vehemence that the military option still existed. The two parties serve together under Chancellor Angela Merkel's "grand coalition."
Defense Minister Jung praised his naval forces' work controlling the seas off Lebanon. He maintained that this arm of UNIFIL was fully effective in preventing arms smuggling for the Hezbollah.