Jerusalem, December 11, 2000
FM Ben-Ami: I would like to welcome Mr. Javier Solana and my friend Mr. Moratinus for this meeting where I briefed Mr. Solana on the state of the question here with regard to his mission. He has, in fact, a double mission: he is a member of the fact-finding commission, but at the same time he is responsible for the foreign policy and security policy of the European Union. We touched base with the situation on these two dimensions. Mr. Solana has an important role to play in this part of the world as a key member of the European Union leadership, so we most warmly welcome him, and our friend Moratinus has been here doing throughout all his very best to contribute to bringing together Israelis and Palestinians.
Even though we are in an electoral period, it is our intention and our determination to pursue the peace process. The peace process was not born out of political considerations, and it will continue regardless of any political conditions that may prevail in this country. The peace process is a strategic objective of the State of the Israel, hence it remains our essential policy.
Mr. Solana: Thank you very much. I’d like to say that for me it’s a great pleasure to be back here in Jerusalem – it’s not the first time and will not be the last – and to have the opportunity of talking with my old friend Shlomo Ben-Ami. I would like tell you that we are all committed to bringing peace in whatever way we can, and in whatever manner we can, we will try to do it. Europe also has a strategic wish to have peace in the region, and, as I told the minister today, we are prepared to help as much as necessary in order to obtain the objective of peace.
I will be working also in the fact-finding commission, which to me is a commission that has to look to the future, to see how we can help to analyze the condition and make suggestions so that the type of events that have taken place in the last two months will not happen again. This is our wish. The commission is not a tribunal. the commission is a political decision taken at Sharm el-Sheikh in order to analyze the situation with the two parties and see if we can make recommendations for the future. This is the aim and the spirit in which we are coming here now for the first time. We don’t want to be part of the problem, we want to be part of the solution to the problem.
The whole commission will be here today. We will meet with Mr. Barak for 3 or 4 hours, we’ll see Mr. Arafat in the afternoon, and then we’ll go to see the leaders of the region. We’ll be in Cairo, and we’ll be in Amman, and that will be the first contact that we will have with the region formally, and then we’ll see how we’ll continue. Today is just the first touching base with the leaders of Israel and the Palestinians, with the leaders of the regions. At the end of the work, which will be the end of March, we will produce a report which will be presented to the President of the United States, then to the parties. the parties will have to make their comments, and then we’ll finalize the work.
All the leaders are fighting for peace, they are battling for peace and to have it as soon as possible, and for that we are going to cooperate as much as possible. there’s no other solution than peace, and I hope this will take place.
||PM Barak and Interministerial Team meets with former US Senator Mitchell’s Fact-finding Committee – Dec 11, 2000|
||Press Briefing by FM Dir-Gen Liel on the Fact-Finding Committee – Dec 10, 2000|
||Outbreak of Violence in Jerusalem and the Territories – Sept/Oct 2000|