PM Olmert after meeting with US Secretary Rice and PA President Abu Mazen: "Any Palestinian government that arises must meet the international community’s conditions."
(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)
Following are excerpts from Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s remarks today (Monday), 19 February 2007, to the Kadima faction at the Knesset:
"The meeting was divided into two parts. First, US Secretary of State Dr. Condoleezza Rice, Palestinian Authority (PA) President Abu Mazen and I met alone. Then we were joined by Foreign Minister Livni, Vice-Premier Shimon Peres and Defense Minister Amir Peretz. Senior PA officials – from Fatah, of course – joined on the Palestinian side. We made it clear, as simply and as plainly as possible, it being completely evident that our demand, like that of the international community and the US, is that a Palestinian government that accepts the Quartet principles thereby recognizes all of the agreements that have been signed between the State of Israel and the PA, and will carry them out.
This does not mean recognition via some sort of empty statement, but carrying out all of these agreements, recognizing the right of the State of Israel to exist as a Jewish state and, of course, an absolute halt to terrorism in all its expressions – Kassam fire and attempts to perpetrate other attacks. Moreover, it is clear that all other commitments – including that to release Gilad Shalit immediately – must be upheld.
I presented the foregoing at the meeting. I also added that we will not recognize any government that does not honor these commitments. Neither will we cooperate with it or its ministers. We decided, I decided, that in any case, but I also said so to the Cabinet and I think it reflects the views of all ministers that we must continue to keep a communications channel with the Palestinians. The only possible channel is PA President Abu Mazen, who was directly elected by the public and, therefore, does not derive his authority from this or that agreement. His status is a result of elections by the Palestinian people. It was agreed contacts between us will continue and will mainly focus on improving the quality of life of Palestinians in the various areas and – of course – on the continuation in practice of the PA’s war on terrorism in order to halt it completely.
I must say that the Americans made a great effort in order to cope with the complex reality in which we find ourselves in order to open a channel of communications between us and the Palestinians. I greatly appreciate and thank President Bush and also Secy. of State Rice, who met in the past days with Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, Defense Minister Amir Peretz and myself. I am also thankful for the unambiguous position expressed by the US that it will not recognize a government which does not accept the Quartet principles. It is clear that this position helps the international community to form a common stance.
There will be discussions. We will continue the communications channel with Abu Mazen. We are not willing to create a situation in which no channels of communications exit with the Palestinian public. I think that would be a grave mistake.
Abu Mazen is different; therefore we will continue our contact with him. And we will make efforts also to attain a significant improvement in the quality of life of the Palestinians.
I thank our American friends, who are uncompromising in their values and continue to take interest in what happens here."