Jerusalem, 26 November 2001

PM Sharon: Israel attaches supreme importance to achieving a cease-fire; Gen. Zinni’s mission will be a test for the Palestinian Authority and Chairman Arafat
(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon today (Monday), November 26, 2001, announced at a meeting held at his Jerusalem office ahead of American envoy retired Marine Corps Gen. Anthony Zinni’s visit, that it has been decided – in cooperation with Foreign Minister Shimon Peres – to appoint reserve IDF Major-General Meir Dagan to head the Israeli team that will work with Gen. Zinni.

Prime Minister Sharon’s diplomatic adviser, Danny Ayalon, former Israeli Ambassador to the US Dore Gold, and Foreign and Defense Ministry representatives will also be included in the team.

Prime Minister Sharon said that Israel attaches supreme importance to achieving a cease-fire and will do everything in its power to achieve this goal.

Prime Minister Sharon added that Israel is committed to the Tenet and Mitchell agreements and hopes that Gen. Zinni’s mission will advance the process and hasten the beginning of the seven days of absolute quiet.

Prime Minister Sharon said that Gen. Zinni’s mission will be a test for the Palestinian Authority and Chairman Arafat to prove the seriousness of their intentions vis-a-vis advancing the diplomatic process. The Prime Minister added that Arafat must make a strategic decision to put aside terrorism since only thus will it be possible in the end to reach the negotiating table.

Senior security service, Defense Ministry and Foreign Ministry representatives attended today’s meeting.