|FM Levy Meets Indian FM Jaswant Singh|
(Communicated by Foreign Ministry Spokesman)
Foreign Minister David Levy met today (Sunday) with his Indian counterpart, Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh, during this, the first visit of an Indian Foreign Minister to Israel.
During their meeting, the two decided to establish a mechanism to deal with the fight against terrorism, with the aim of institutionalizing these contacts in a future agreement.
In addition, the two Ministers decided to hold periodical discussions on strategic matters and to hold a meeting every six months between the Foreign Ministers, in order to strengthen bilateral cooperation. They also agreed to enhance ties between the Foreign Ministries in the fields of science, culture and economics.
Foreign Minister Levy asked Singh to assist in the release of the Jewish prisoners in Iran. Mr Levy stated:
"Please pass on a message to the Iranian authorities – set these people free. The only crime of these innocent people is that they are Jews. We call upon all world leaders to speak out against this injustice, and to cry out for their release. Iran is being tested, whether it is pursuing the path of darkness or whether it has forces of progress and a sense of justice. The conscience of the entire world is under examination – allow the Jews to go free – this is our demand."
The Foreign Minister of India, Jaswant Singh, gave his assurances that he would raise the matter with the Iranian authorities, as this was a humanitarian issue of the first order. He promised to update Minister Levy on the matter.
Minister Levy informed his counterpart that he had spoken with the Prime Minister in the morning regarding the need to grant Indian hi-tech professionals greater access to Israel, and that the Prime Minister instructed the Director General of his Ministry to examine ways to facilitate cooperation between Indian and Israeli scientists.
The two also discussed the Middle East peace process, and Foreign Minister Levy briefed his counterpart regarding the current situation.
With regard to the negotiations with the Palestinians, Minister Levy stated:
"We have stopped saying "it is all mine", but the Palestinians continue to insist "it is all mine". Only when the Palestinians internalize their need to compromise will we reach the end of this conflict."
With regard to Syria, Foreign Minister Levy stated:
"We hope that Bashar Assad, who grew up and received his education in the outside world, will examine new alternatives which are advantageous for his people, and that he will find a new way to advance the peace process."