FM Levy Meets Finnish President Ahtisaari

(Communicated by Foreign Ministry Spokesman)
4 October 1999

Foreign Minister David Levy today (Monday) 4.10.99, met Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari, who arrived following a visit to Damascus. The Foreign Minister told President Ahtisaari that Israel is prepared to meet Syrian representatives at any place and at any time.

President Ahtisaari briefed the Foreign Minister on his talks with Syrian leaders about the efforts being made to resume the Israeli-Syrian negotiations. Foreign Minister Levy answered that Israel does not intend to concede to Syria’s demands or to preconditions of any kind. Levy emphasized that peace can be advanced solely by direct dialogue and that there is no sacrifice made on any side by participating in such a meeting.

President Ahtisaari offered Finland’s good offices if and when a meeting between Israeli and Syrian representatives occurs, and the Foreign Ministry replied that he would be prepared to come to Helsinki for this purpose at any time.

In the meeting in which Finnish Foreign Minister Tarja Halonen and European Union Special Envoy to the Middle East Miguel Moratinos also attended, the multilateral talks were also discussed. Foreign Minister Levy reiterated the need for the resumption of these talks since they help the peace process as a whole, and especially the Palestinians, and they are a forum in which the fruits of peace can be realized.

Also discussed was Foreign Minister Levy’s upcoming talks with European Union leaders in Luxembourg and his attendance at the donor nations meeting in Tokyo.