(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert today (Wednesday), 7 February 2007, in his Jerusalem office, met with UK Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett. They discussed various developments in the Middle East, including the Palestinian, Iranian, Syrian and Lebanese issues.
On the Palestinian issue, Prime Minister Olmert emphasized the importance of last week’s Quartet decision, in the framework of which the Quartet members reiterated the three principles that obligate the Palestinian Authority (PA) government to recognize Israel, recognize previous the previous agreements and halt terrorism and the support for violence. The Prime Minister added that all PA governments will be bound to meet these conditions.
UK Foreign Secretary Beckett expressed her country’s great appreciation for the continuation of Israel’s policy of restraint. She also expressed her appreciation of Israel’s steps in the PA areas, including the measures to ease restrictions at the crossings and regarding the transfer of goods.
On the Iranian issue, Prime Minister Olmert explained the importance of UN Security Council Resolution 1737 which imposes sanctions on Iran. He made it clear that Iran has yet to achieve a nuclear capability and added that he believes that it is still possible to prevent this by means of effective sanctions, including those enacted by nations of the world and which bypass the UN Security Council. UK Foreign Secretary Beckett fully agreed with the importance of the sanctions in preventing Iran from achieving a nuclear capability. The two leaders agreed that it is still possible to use non-violent means in order to prevent Iran from achieving a nuclear capability.
On the Lebanese issue, Prime Minister Olmert and UK Foreign Secretary Beckett discussed the full implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701 and the problem of violations of Resolution 1701 as Hizbullah – assisted by Syria – continues to attempt to smuggle weapons into southern Lebanon.
On the Syrian issue, Prime Minister Olmert made it clear that while he is interested in peace with Syria, the current Syrian regime is currently uninterested in making peace
Prime Minister Olmert raised the issue of the need for quick British legislation in order to prevent a situation in which measures – including arrest warrants – are taken against Israeli officers visiting the UK.