(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon today (Tuesday), 28 December 2004, visited the Foreign Ministry; he spoke with Israel’s ambassadors to European countries and visited the Situation Room from where he spoke to the Foreign Ministry officials in Thailand.

Prime Minister Sharon commented on the recent natural disaster: “I know that Foreign Ministry personnel are making great efforts to locate the Israelis. You have yet to succeed in locating all of them and there are many others as yet unaccounted for.  You are doing extraordinary work here, you and your people around the world.  A special effort must be made here, first to locate and assist Israelis, including those who want to return home.  But what really touches the heart is not only the concern for Israeli citizens but also our willingness to help those countries that have been caught up in this awful plight, the likes of which we haven’t seen for many years, if at all.  For this, I really want to thank you all.  Israeli citizens must be proud of the state’s willingness to help others in need.  I hope that we will succeed in locating everybody and that most will be able to return home safe and sound.”

Prime Minister Sharon also spoke with the Israeli Ambassador in India and the Foreign Ministry representative in China, and was updated by them on the efforts to locate all missing Israelis and on the assistance being rendered to other Israelis and to the stricken countries.