FM Peres Meets with Russian FM Ivanov

(Communicated by the Foreign Ministry Spokesperson)
May 21, 2001

Foreign Minister Shimon Peres stated today (May 21) during his meeting with his Russian counterpart, Ygor Ivanov, that Israel is ready to go the distance to achieve peace.

Peres also said that it would be unrealistic to expect Israel to negotiate while facing bloody terrorist attacks. "In such a situation, there is no possibility of reaching a compromise. We would not be able to explain to the Israeli people why we are negotiating for a compromise while under fire, when it is Arafat who rejected Clinton’s proposals and the Palestinians who launched the violence – and all this after former Prime Minister Barak went to such extraordinary lengths."

FM Peres also stated that only a united stand by the international community against terrorism will succeed in bringing it to an end. Mr. Peres explained that the Palestinian Authority is now testing the international community. If the world demonstrates coolness towards Arafat, the terrorism will end. However, if the Palestinians feel even a little warmth, they will continue the terrorism and violence.

In response to a question from Ivanov regarding the starting point of the negotiations, Peres said that the negotiations would start with the implementation of existing agreements. The basis of the negotiations would be Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338.

The Russian Foreign Minister told Mr. Peres that Russia did not understand Arafat’s rejection of Clinton’s proposals. "Israel and the Palestinians accepted the Mitchell report, and we support this," Ivanov said, "Russia desires the stabilization of the situation, and the return to normalization." "It is important that the various agreements are implemented, and do not just remain on paper", Ivanov stated.