Statements by Deputy PM and Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and EU High Representative Javier Solana following their meeting

Jerusalem, May 23, 2001

Shimon Peres: I would like to thank Javier Solana for his visit to the area. I know he did it in the midst of many other responsibilities and crises, and he did it in order to see what can be done in immediate terms in order to improve the situation, and come back as soon as we may to the implementation of the Mitchell Report.

I want to say that Israel has accepted the Mitchell Report on all its points, including the four-step sequence of the implementation: ceasefire, cooling off period, confidence building measures, and a comeback to the political negotiations in order to attain full-fledged peace.

I want to thank Mr. Solana for his attention, for his energy, for his investment in peace, and he is more than a welcome guest representing the united Europe.

Javier Solana: Thank you very much. For me it’s a great pleasure to be again here and to see my good and old friend Shimon Peres, and I want to thank him for hospitality and for his friendship.

As you can imagine we have talked today about how to implement the Mitchell Report. Both sides have agreed that the recommendations of the Mitchell Report can be accepted by both sides. What we have to do now is to see how we can implement them. That is the work that we have ahead of us.

I think it’s very very important that we have, at the table, a platform that has been supported by the European Union, by the United States, by the Secretary-General of the UN, by the Russian President, by so many people, by so many countries. And I think we should be able to find a way to start implementing those recommendations and begin first a ceasefire and then to continue to the table of negotiations. I think that is the dream of the people of this country, that is the dream of the Palestinians, and let me say that that is the dream of many many people of goodwill all over the world that look at this region with love, and who want peace and prosperity in it.

Shimon, thank you very much; we will continue working together, and let’s hope the next time we’ll come here to celebrate that an important movement has taken place.

Q (inaudible)

Shimon Peres: I can speak only of behalf of Israel, and I can say in a clear voice that Israel has accepted the Mitchell Report, period. The Mitchell Report marks a clear line, a clear order, a sequence of events, and we accept it.

Q (inaudible)

Javier Solana: The Foreign Minister, who he is authorized as a voice from Israel, has said clearly and loudly that Israel accepts the Mitchell Report and all its consequences. I’d like to say that the Mitchell Report is a package, and it’s a package that has to be contemplated as a whole, and that is the spirit in which it was written. I am very pleased to see that the Foreign Minister has accepted, in public now, and this is not the first time, the Mitchell Report and the consequences as an integral part.

Q (inaudible)

Shimon Peres: As far as we are concerned, we are impatient – the implementation can start tomorrow morning. But we have to agree on a calendar, on modalities, in order to implement the four different stages. We shall not try to retard or postpone any opportunity to implement as soon and as reasonably as is possible.