RIGA - Political dialogue on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is difficult to imagine in times of war, President of Latvia Edgars Rinkevics stressed at a press conference, where he met with Prime Minister Evika Silina (New Unity) today at Riga Castle.
He pointed out that a two-state solution has long been the position of Latvia and the European Union (EU), as well as enshrined in several UN Security Council documents and UN General Assembly resolutions. Rinkevics explained that this has been discussed for 30 years, during which there had been moments of both optimism and pessimism.
"Over the past years, there have been situations where there have been higher expectations on both sides, but there have also been tensions. We are in a situation where we have to deal with the terrorist organization Hamas. It is not that the first attack took place on October 7; there have been terrorist attacks before that," said the President of Latvia.
Rinkevics stressed that rockets are being fired at Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and other Israeli cities, hostages are still being taken and no one knows their fate. The President stressed that no political process is possible at this time. He admitted that a political solution would have to be sought after a de-escalation of the situation, which could be put forward by both the UN and the countries of the region.
"In the end, we have come to open war. As long as the war continues, it is hard to imagine that many would say that a two-state solution should be negotiated. The goal remains, but whether and when it is realistically achievable, I will be honest - I don't know," said the President of Latvia.
In Rinkevics' view, it is necessary to deal with the terrorists, to respect international norms and to understand what to do next, because at the moment it is an unanswerable question. According to the President, there was hope that a meeting between the US President, the King of Jordan, the Egyptian President and the Palestinian Authority would take place yesterday, but the meeting was cancelled due to the ongoing conflict in Gaza.
"There are big goals for a two-state solution, but we see that for 30 years we have gone nowhere. Is there an alternative? One has to ask what that alternative is, because the prospects look pretty bleak. We have reached an absolute political dead end. What the solution might be, I cannot answer," the President said.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister told members of the press that in talks with European prime ministers, there was a consensus that the focus on Ukraine, which is very important for Latvia, should not be lost. If Ukraine is no longer in the spotlight, Russia and Iran benefit.
"It is important for the countries of the region to remember that this focus cannot be lost. It is important to maintain all the support pledged to Ukraine, despite the conflict in Israel and Gaza. We must be able to help people. It is our duty as the EU to provide humanitarian aid and political support as far as possible. Europe will stand ready to engage and help shape any peace talks, because it is in all our interests," underlined Silina.