|FM Levy Meets Norwegian FM Vollebaek|
(Communicated by Foreign Ministry Spokesman)
Foreign Minister David Levy met yesterday morning (Sunday) 22.8.99, with Norwegian Foreign Minister Knut Vollebaek, who invited Levy to pay an official visit to Norway.
The Foreign Minister updated FM Vollebaek on the peace process, saying, "This is the time to act. This government is determined to achieve a general peace, and the opportunity must be seized. Syria insists that we accept its position before negotiations even begin. No democratic country can accept such an opening condition. Israel is prepared to meet at any time, at any level."
Regarding the negotiations with the Palestinians, Levy said that there are two main difficulties: the problem of prisoners and the problem of an agreed code of conduct. Regarding the former, the Minister said that the government has made the decision to release prisoners, but the Palestinians decided to harden their position and demand the release of all security prisoners.
He added that the Palestinians are operating at two levels: On one hand they are maintaining contacts and dialogue, so that the negotiations are moving forward, while on the other hand they are exploiting every possible stage and international convention to attack Israel. "Creating artificial drama and making anti-Israel speeches fundamentally belies the atmosphere of peace and harms mutual trust," Levy said.