Jerusalem, 14 June 2001

PM Sharon meets with Russian envoys
(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon met today (Thursday), June 14, 2001, with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s special Middle East envoy Andrei Vdovin and Russian Ambassador to Israel Mikhail Bogdanov.

Prime Minister Sharon briefed his guests on Israeli policy vis-a-vis implementing the Mitchell report, the Tenet cease-fire document and the stages that were agreed upon in order to facilitate movement in the diplomatic process.

Prime Minister Sharon asked envoy Vdovin – in his upcoming meeting with Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat – to transfer a message to Arafat that the current national unity government in Israel will not negotiate under pressure of shooting, terrorism and incitement. Israel is committed to strictly fulfilling the Tenet document and carrying out the cease-fire as the first stage in implementing the Mitchell report.

Prime Minister Sharon stressed that any and all progress in the diplomatic process and the negotiations is conditional on a total cessation of violence, terrorism and incitement.

"The violations of the cease-fire and the continuation of terrorism and incitement since the Tenet document was accepted yesterday obligate me to order that we will be unable to implement what we have committed ourselves to doing wherever terrorism and violence are continuing," Prime Minister Sharon said, adding that, "The cooling-off period, as agreed upon in the Mitchell report, will begin only when complete quiet prevails."

Prime Minister Sharon and envoy Vdovin agreed that terrorism is a common problem for Israel and Russia.

Envoy Vdovin emphasized the need for the two countries to cooperate in the struggle against terrorism.

Prime Minister Sharon expressed his concern over the spread of technology of weapons of mass destruction to countries like Iraq and Iran.

Envoy Vdovin invited Prime Minister Sharon to visit Russia.