Jerusalem, 13 March 2001

PM Sharon meets EU Delegation
(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon met today (Tuesday), March 13, 2001, in his Jerusalem office, with a visiting European Union delegation led by Swedish Foreign Minister Anna Lindh.

Prime Minister Sharon told Foreign Minister Lindh that the main points in his government’s policy guidelines are the restoration of Israeli citizens’ personal security, achieving peace, maintaining a free market, closing the gaps in Israeli society and increasing aliyah to Israel.

Prime Minister Sharon clarified to the EU delegation the dangers that Palestinian terrorism – which is being mainly carried out by the Palestinian security forces, Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat’s presidential guard, Islamic Jihad, Hamas and the Iranian-inspired and assisted Hizballah – poses both to Israel and stability in the Middle East.

Prime Minister Sharon called on the free and democratic world to act assertively against both local and international terrorism in order to uproot the phenomenon of using terrorism to achieve diplomatic objectives. The Prime Minister stressed that his goal is to act aggressively against those who perpetrate terrorism, as well as against those who aid and dispatch them to carry out their severe criminal acts, while rendering assistance to peaceful populations that do not take part in terrorism.

Prime Minister Sharon cautioned that in order for it to be possible to assist the civilian population, PA Chairman Arafat must personally call for a halt to both terrorism and incitement, begin counter-terrorist actions and return to the security coordination.

Prime Minister Sharon said that the PA’s current economic crisis stems from the fact that the PA has chosen to use violence and terrorism, has neglected the negotiations and has violated its agreements with Israel. Regarding the funds that Israel owes the Palestinians, the Prime Minister said that it is immoral to demand that Israel pay the salaries of Palestinian forces that are involved in terrorist actions.

Prime Minister Sharon raised the issues of Israel’s POWs and MIAs, the Jews who were tried in Iran and the fate of Azzam Azzam.