Icelandic foreign minister in Middle East peace talks

Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir, the Foreign Minister for Iceland, met last week with the Palestinian Prime Minister, Salam Fayyad,? and the? President, Mahmoud Abbas. Following the meetings, Gísladóttir reported that leaders from both sides of the conflict saw a chance for peace in the future.

Speaking about her recent experiences in the troubled region, Gísladóttir said there was no better time for the two sides to come together and resolve their differences. “The conflict has reached a dead end,” she told Morgunbladid. “Palestine suffers from a great political, economical and social depression and Israel has no other choice but to make an agreement with the Palestinian National Authority, otherwise there is a danger of complete chaos and increased terrorism.”

She concluded; “It is in such a deciding moment that people believe that peace discussions will deliver results, a better standard of living and some future options.”

Norway is currently leading the discussions for peace between Israel and Palestine but Gísladóttir reported that she had been invited by officials from Israel to take over the position. “I don’t know if we are capable of doing that, but if there is a possibility, we should, not just because of the people here […] and our compassion for them, but also because of the safety of people everywhere in the Western world,” Gísladóttir said.

During her visit to the region,? Gisladottir met with victims of missile attacks and saw their homes. “It is terrible to witness this and realize how common it is for bombs to fall in this region; to witness the constant threat which is facing the people who live here,” Gísladóttir said.

Gísladóttir is also planning to visit the Aida refugee camp and speak with the leaders of various women’s groups. Although she says she learned a lot from her recent experiences, Gísladóttir recognises that there is still more to learn. “I still haven’t … seen what the situation is like in the West Bank. I still haven’t seen the whole picture, just a part of it,” Gísladóttir said.