Malaysia and Germany call for permanent ceasefire in Gaza [NSTTV]

BERLIN: Malaysia and Germany today called for a lasting ceasefire to be implemented in Gaza, with the release of hostages and humanitarian aid to Palestinians expedited.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, together with German Chancellor Olaf Schulz, said the international community must work towards making the goal of a two-state solution a reality, and bring an end to the decades-long conflict.

"There have been four decades of atrocities, plunder and dispossession of Palestinians. Let us move forward. I agree with what the chancellor has said on the final two-state solution to ensure there is peace for both countries and to work in concert to ensure that there is economic development and progress for the people in the area," he said.

Anwar was speaking at a joint press conference with Schulz after a four-eyed meeting with the chancellor at the Federal Chancellery today.

The prime minister was also asked by foreign media on whether he was concerned that Malaysia's ties with Hamas could harm its relations with other countries.

"Our foreign policy position is consistent. We oppose colonialism, apartheid or ethnic cleansing or dispossession of any country, be it Ukraine or in Gaza. We cannot erase 40 years of atrocities and  dispossession which resulted in reaction and anger from the people concerned.

"Our relation with Hamas is the political wing in Hamas. We make no apologies about it. That engagement has helped at least to bring about the concerns, at least about hostages. We do not have any connection with any military outfit.

"We recognised the African National Congress (ANC) long before the Europeans or Americans did because we believed that the apartheid policy was to be opposed. So we have been consistent with that policy, that we must understand the root cause," he said.

Anwar however noted that he rejected the narrative that the entire Gaza crisis stemmed from the Oct 7, 2023 attack on Israel.

"It did not begin with October and 7, neither did it end on Oct 7. It began four decades ago and is continuing today.

"However, having said that, in our discussion, I said to the chancellor, we move on. Do we discuss history and past atrocities or do we discuss how to resolve the problem now?

"This means cessation of the killings, stopping the atrocities, and the entire international community, Malaysia, Germany, its neighbours, make sure there is no more violence perpetrated by any group against anyone. 

"Muslims, Christians or Jews, they must be allowed to live in peace," he said.

To a question of whether the two leaders' meeting today can influence an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, Anwar said both countries can play their own roles in seeking a solution.

"Germany has good ties with Israel and we have similar ties with Palestine. The only solution right now is a lasting ceasefire. A two-state solution can only be done if the international community shows courage and commitment," he said.

Meanwhile, Scholz, when asked on what Germany makes of Malaysia's ties with Hamas, said the country has always believed that Israel has a right to defend itself.

"At the same time, we want more humanitarian aid to reach Gaza, for hostages to be released, and we want to avoid any casualties. I've spoken about the necessity for a long-term peaceful perspective of a two-state solution which would make it possible for Palestinians in Gaza and the Wes Bank to live peacefully, rule themselves in their own country next to Israel as a democracy in the region," he said.

Scholz said Germany is working closely with the United States and other Arab nations to prevent further escalation of violence and find a solution to the crisis.

"I hope we can make a lasting ceasefire happen and the release of hostages this Ramadan. This will led to more aid being channeled to Gaza," he said, adding that he was also pleased to be able to break fast with Anwar and the Malaysian delegation for the first day of Ramadan.

Meanwhile, Anwar said he and Scholz have also taken an unequivocal stance on the war in Ukraine regarding conquest in any country, including Russia's actions and seek a peaceful resolution to the conflict as its ramifications on trade is affecting even as far as Asia.

Asean, he said is not only the fastest growing economy in the world but also a peaceful region, save for unresolved issues with Myanmar, which is contained within the country and has not affected the region.

On issues involving China and the South China Sea, Anwar said he has assured Scholz that Malaysia is engaging well with China and has not encountered any serious issues.

"Although we are a small country, we maintain our right as a fiercely independent country, to engage with most countries to ensure that the people, particularly Malaysians, will benefit from this sort of mechanism and collaboration.

He thanked Scholz for the meeting, adding that he was impressed with Scholz's candour and understanding, including over what's happening in Malaysia and the region.

"It is highly impressive for a country of Germany's size to be able to understand and appreciate some of our concerns. I look forward to greater collaboration in enhancing trade and investments but also strengthen bilateral relations in all fields," he said.

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