Peace in Mideast possible only with European backing

DUBAI - Peace in the Middle East cannot be achieved with backing and mediation from European powers alone as sincere efforts of the world's superpower - the US - in this regard are of prime importance, said Dr Gunter Mulack, the Commissioner for Dialogue with the Islamic World at the German Foreign Ministry.

By (By a staff reporter)

Published: Thu 29 Jan 2004, 12:16 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 2:31 AM

Dr Mulack made the statement while briefing the Press at the Dubai Press Club on Tuesday on Germany's move to bridge the gap between the Muslim countries and Europe.

While Germany encourages cultural exchanges with non-German communities within its boundaries, it has also introduced similar, specific programmes for Arab countries, Dr Mulack said, adding that the emphasis, however, is more on education and training.

Replying to a Khaleej Times question on the likely impact of this initiative on Europe's relations with the US, Dr Mulack said, "We have a different view from America, and they are talking about a new Europe as against the old Europe. And we are proud to be part of what the US calls old Europe."

In reference to the Anglo-American war on Iraq, he stressed that Germany, like many other European states, does not believe in military action as a means to solve problems.

"Afghanistan was an exception to this, since all possible peaceful initiatives were tried by all parties involved. The United Nations was involved and the decision for military action against the Taleban regime was a result of a decision reached by the Security Council," Dr Mulack noted.

Commenting on America's sincerity towards peace initiatives for the Middle East, Dr Mulack said that the "bigger players are not exerting enough efforts to bring peace to the region," and pointed out that with the elections fast approaching in the US, any major effort is unlikely for the moment. He admitted that Germany on its own couldn’t solve the Israel-Palestine issue.

Dr Mulack noted that the EU, Russia and the US have worked together for peace in the region, "and the best Germany can do is to tell our partners to go forward - but the spiral of violence is a major obstacle. There are bomb explosions followed by reprisals from the military, which in turn lead to more revenges and counter-reprisals."

Emphasising on the seriousness of the impact that violence from both sides (Israel and Palestine) has on the peace initiatives, Dr Mulack said, "I do hope that people (the government) in Israel also come to their senses."

Dr Mulack studied law and Islamic jurisprudence at the Universities of Marburg and Gettingen and passed the civil service examination as a lawyer in 1968. After doing a master's degree in law in 1970, Dr Mulack joined the German Foreign Service in 1971.

His first posting in 1972 was at the German embassy in Cairo, followed by his service at the German embassy in Beirut. He was deputy head of mission at the German embassy in Kuwait from 1974 to 1978. He also served as deputy head of mission at the German embassy in Amman from 1980 to 1983 and as deputy head of the division of legal affairs in the German foreign office in Bonn from 1983 to 1989.

In 1989, he was assigned temporary duties at the German embassy in Teheran before being appointed consul general in Casablanca, Morocco. From 1991 to 1994, he was German ambassador in Kuwait and Bahrain. From 1995 to 1999, he was Director in the department of political affairs in the German federal foreign office, Bonn. From October 1999 to May 2002, Dr Mulack served as German ambassador in Damascus.

He was appointed Commissioner for the Dialogue with Islam, Dialogue of Civilisations in March 2002. He is serving in this capacity with the rank of ambassador at the German foreign office in Berlin.

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