PLO Executive Committee Member Dr. Hanan Ashrawi met with the Federal Chancellor of Austria Christian Kern at the Presidential Compound (Al Muqata’a) in Ramallah. The Federal Chancellor was accompanied by Ambassador Bernd Wrabetz, Foreign Policy Adviser to the Federal Chancellor, Nikolai Raffael Moser, Spokesperson to the Federal Chancellor, Thomas Zehetner, Political Adviser to the Federal Chancellor, and Andrea Nasi, Head of the Austrian Representative Office in Ramallah.
Dr. Ashrawi extended her appreciation to Austria for its historical ties with Palestine and for its continued backing of Palestine at the United Nations. In that context, she said, “It is our hope that Austria’s recognition of Palestine will be forthcoming soon.”
The discussion focused on the latest political, international and regional developments, as well as the deteriorating conditions on the ground, Israel’s destruction of the foundations for peace by means of its continued breach of international law and Palestinian human rights and the escalation of its illegal settlement enterprise, and the importance of the collective hunger strike of the Palestinian political prisoners. In that view, Dr. Ashrawi stressed the imperative of multilateral engagement and a dynamic European political role in holding Israel accountable for its violations, actively working to end the military occupation and achieving a just peace.
Both parties assessed the current state of the Palestinian economy, and Dr. Ashrawi said, “A state cannot be built under occupation. Institution and nation building will not succeed unless there are serious and effective measures to end the occupation and to establish the independent and viable Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.”
The issue of the internal rift was raised, and Dr. Ashrawi affirmed the importance of national unity and elections and the need to revitalize and rejuvenate the Palestinian political system.
Both parties also reviewed bilateral relations and future cooperation between Palestine and Austria, as well as the role of the U.S. in peacemaking and the ramifications and consequences of relocating the American embassy to Jerusalem.