We achieved the objectives we set ourselves in Annapolis.

(Communicated by the Foreign Minister’s Bureau)

Following are excerpts from the remarks by Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Tzipi Livni today (Monday, 3 December 2007), to the Kadima faction in the Knesset:

The Roadmap will be pre-eminent in any future peace agreement:

"Last week was a good week for Israel and our security and political interests. Upon our return, it is proper to ask ourselves if we achieved the objectives we set for ourselves. The answer is yes. We wanted to open negotiations with pragmatic elements in the Palestinian Authority – and this was achieved. We wanted to retain freedom of action against terrorist activities wherever they may occur, including Gaza – and we did. In addition, we requested and stipulated the pre-eminence of full implementation of the Roadmap in any future agreement – complete security for Israel in return for a Palestinian state. I am proud to state that all the objectives that we set for ourselves, which were realistic but quite difficult to accomplish, were achieved. The Annapolis Joint Understanding is an important document because of what it contains – the pre-eminence of the implementation of the Roadmap over any future peace agreement; and also for what it doesn’t contain – matters were conducted without us tying ourselves down on issues that are critical for us."

With regard to the conditions stipulated by Israel regarding the conduct of the process, FM Livni said: "We demanded that there be no time table requiring us to reach an agreement by a certain time. Based on our past experience, failure to complete in time would mean a resurgence of terrorism. We wanted to achieve a peace agreement as soon as possible – this request was expressed at Annapolis. We obtained a process totally based on bilateral negotiations between us and the Palestinians, and this is the track and the level upon which it will be conducted. We asked for the support of the Arab world in the peace process – for us this is crucial to achieving success. No Palestinian leader can carry this out without the unconditional support of the Arab world. It was important for us to receive the support of those Arab countries that came to Annapolis and expressed their support for the initiation of the process."

On the future of the peace process, FM Livni said: "What we must now do with these Arab states is to translate this support into actual steps vis-a-vis Israel, as Israel did vis-a-vis the Palestinians."  

"To summarize, in Annapolis we advanced on several levels: We laid down the tracks for bilateral negotiations that will be conducted in a controlled manner, enabling us to maintain Israeli interests. We began the process of implementing the Roadmap on the ground, where Israel will also have to play its part. On the other hand, and more importantly, the Palestinian battle against terrorism will begin. The third track which I hope has been launched is the track that will allow the Arab world to climb off the fence and to advance to some kind of support of the process, and hopefully to take positive steps towards Israel as well."