PM to Dutch FM: Talks Begin Only After Violence Ends

Jerusalem, 7 May 2001

(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon met today (7 May) with Dutch Foreign Minister Jozias Van Aartsen and told him that the Israeli government will conduct diplomatic negotiations only after the violence has been halted. The Prime Minister emphasized that there must be a complete halt to terrorism in all its forms. "Arafat is wasting very precious time; terrorism and violence will yield him nothing," the Prime Minister said.

Regarding the Mitchell Committee report, Prime Minister Sharon said that he views most of it positively since the committee has called on the Palestinian Authority to honor its commitments and take immediate steps to halt the violence, calls for a period of calm ahead of confidence-building measures and opposes the internationalization of the conflict.

Prime Minister Sharon stressed that his primary obligation is to the security of Israel’s citizens and added that if the PA does not act to halt the violence, Israel will be obliged to do so – without, however, intending to escalate the situation. "We are suffering daily losses and there is no country which can tolerate this," the Prime Minister said.

Regarding the Egyptian-Jordanian initiative, Prime Minister Sharon asserted that a testing period for the halting of violence – to be determined in accordance with conditions on the ground – is necessary, and added that achieving a settlement can be realized only after there is complete quiet and all signed agreements have been implemented.