German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier(L) attends a joint press conference with Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat after meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Jan. 13, 2014. (Xinhua/Fadi Arouri)
More photos >>>
RAMALLAH, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) -- German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said here Monday that Israeli settlement activities contradict the U.S. efforts to seek an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement.
Steinmeier made the remarks at a press conference after a meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, adding he would discuss the issue with his Israeli counterpart Avigdor Lieberman.
It is a sensitive and important period of time when new discussion will take place, he said, referring to the ongoing direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.
Steinmeier, who had flown to the region to participate in the funeral of late Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, said it is difficult to reach an agreement under the present circumstances.
He called on both sides to excise flexibility and do their best to reach a medium agreement to help the peace talks succeed.
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat told the same press conference that Abbas and Steinmeier had focused their discussion on Israeli settlement activities.
The Israeli Housing Ministry published on Jan. 10 tenders for the construction of 1,400 housing units in the settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.
"Declaring more settlement building tenders are blowing up the efforts of the international community to achieve peace in the region," Erekat said.