Spain FM: Israel and Palestinians Want Peace, but Time Is Running Out

Moratinos, who arrived in Israel to receive honorary degree from Ben Gurion, calls Islamic fundamentalism the common enemy to Arabs, Israelis and Europeans.


Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Moratinos

Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Moratinos said Tuesday that he was convinced every citizen of Israel was interested in peace with the Palestinians, adding that he believed all sides involved were desperately seeking a solution to the decades-old conflict.

Moratinos, who arrived in Israel earlier in the day to receive an honorary doctorate from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, said peace in the Middle East should not be seen as a "utopia."

There are those who say it is impossible to achieve peace, said Moratinos, adding that was not one of those. He said that both sides seemed willing to move forward, but warned that the time for success was running out.

The Spanish foreign minister said, however, that the existence of Islamic fundamentalism made such a goal harder to achieve than 21 years ago at the Madrid Summit.

Europeans, Palestinians, the Arab states and Israel all have a common enemy in Islamic fundamentalism, Moratinos declared.

Moratinos also said that the international community has sent a strong message to Iran over its contentious nuclear program, adding that should Iran not respond to these demands, further action would be needed.

The Spanish foreign minister said that if the diplomatic route was exhausted without success, then sanctions must be imposed through the United Nations.