The day after Annapolis, we must begin meaningful negotiations. Compromise is needed on both sides, and diplomatic dialogue must be accompanied by progress on the ground.
(Communicated by Foreign Minister’s Bureau)
Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Tzipi Livni spoke on Monday night (5 November 2007) at the 9th Euro-Mediterranean Ministerial Meeting of Foreign Affairs in Lisbon, attended by foreign ministers and other representatives of the Arab League and Arab states such as Jordan, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Tunisia, Algeria, Libya, and Mauritania.
At a session devoted to the peace process in the Middle East, the Foreign Minister said:
We decided to try to bridge the gap between our positions and the Palestinians’. It is obvious to us that the day after [the Annapolis conference] we must begin meaningful negotiations. Israel is not trying to avoid discussion on the most sensitive core issues. Both sides must understand that compromise is needed. It is also clear that diplomatic dialogue must be accompanied by progress on the ground.
The dialogue is taking place today, but the establishment of a Palestinian state depends on finding a responsible party who has control in the field and can ensure that a terrorist state will not be set up alongside Israel.
The current negotiations deal with the day before and, even more so, the day after Annapolis. Three tracks for action are on the agenda: discussion on open subjects; implementation of steps that can be taken on the ground; and the process that will take place the day after. We must use all of these tools in a way that will contribute to the process and not disrupt it.
FM Livni addressed her remarks in particular to the delegates from Arab states present in the room:
The Arab world can deliver a message – to its own public as well as the Israeli public – that there are changes and processes taking place that can have an impact on the entire region. If the Arab world had behaved differently, the Palestinians could have been celebrating 60 years of independence, or at least seven years of their own state. The Arab world should come to the conference with no preconditions, support every resolution adopted by the Palestinians and every compromise, instead of dictating the final outcome in advance.
If you (the Arab states) want to dictate the final outcome – we will have a problem. If you want to see peace – encourage the negotiations.
The Arab world sees normalization as a reward to Israel for achieving peace with the Palestinians. We see peace with the Palestinians as the reward.
Israel is planning confidence-building measures and we expect cbm’s from you as well. This way, you will not leave the pragmatic Palestinians on their own.
At the Euro-Med Conference, Minister Livni met with the EU Presidency Troika and the heads of its foreign affairs commission, and also held private meetings with the EU High Representative for CFSP and the foreign ministers of Italy, Spain, Egypt and Jordan.
FM Livni met on Tuesday (6 November) with Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit, and updated him on details of the negotiations with the Palestinians. The two also discussed the issue of smuggling into the Gaza Strip from Egyptian territory. With regard to this, FM Livni stated that "Gaza is becoming a genuine problem in the region, and determined action must be taken to prevent the smuggling".
FM Livni also met privately with the foreign ministers of other Arab states, among them the foreign ministers of Jordan, Mauritania and the Palestinian Authority. FM Livni also addressed the Euro-Med Plenum, and spoke of the need to strengthen Israel-European bilateral relations, especially at this time of political development. The Foreign Minister is due to return to Israel on Tuesday night.