Luxembourg Minister of Foreign Affairs Meets Birzeit President and Students

Luxembourg Minister of Foreign Affairs Jean Asselborn visited Birzeit University on March 22, 2014, and met with President Khalil Hindi, Vice President for Advancement Ghassan Khatib and a number of Birzeit University students.

Hindi briefed the minister on the university and its academic programs, emphasizing the need to strengthen academic relations between Birzeit University and other universities abroad.

Minister Asselborn and his delegation were also briefed on the university’s achievements and challenges, most notably the financial crisis. They were presented information on the Israeli occupation as an apartheid system that hinders the university’s progress in several respects, among them the university’s inability to attract professors and academics from abroad, due to an inability to obtain visas from the Israeli authorities

Minister Asselborn expressed his pleasure upon visiting Palestine and Birzeit University, emphasizing the close relations between Luxembourg and Palestine. "My request to meet with Palestinian students came out of my belief in the role played by youth and their ability to make a change,” he said, “in addition to my desire to get familiar with what is going on in Palestine and the region.”

During his meeting with the students, Asselborn gave a briefing on Luxembourg’s foreign policy towards the Middle East, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

He also said that his country's policy regarding the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is based on respect for international law and a concern for human rights and freedom, in addition to a belief in using peaceful means to resolve international conflicts. Asselborn added that it is vital to give a real chance for peace, and to reach a two-state solution, living side by side in peace and security. Asselborn pointed out that Israel must halt its settlement expansion policy, because the settlements are illegal under international law.

At a later stage, the students presented their questions, expressing appreciation for the minister’s interest in youth role in change and development. The students gave comments on the EU’s policy towards the Palestinian issue, calling for a more assertive policy towards the Israeli practices against the Palestinians.