Middle East

Merkel: Germany stands by Israel on security

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas addresses the United Nations General Assembly at UN Headquarters, in New York, November 29, 2012. REUTERS/Chip East

BERLIN: Germany's chancellor is reassuring Israel of her nation's unwavering commitment to the country's security.

Angela Merkel's said in her weekly podcast released Saturday that peace talks with the Palestinians toward a two-state solution should be resumed as soon as possible. She addes "Germany will always stand by Israel" when it comes to guaranteeing its safety.

Merkel's message comes two days after Israel suffered a symbolic defeat when an overwhelming majority of United Nations member states endorsed an independent state of Palestine, implicitly backing demands for sovereignty over lands Israel occupied in 1967.

Germany, which many currently consider to be Israel's closest European ally, abstained in the vote, which irked both Israel and the Palestinians.

Merkel will hold talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday in Berlin.





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