(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert met today (Monday), 22 January 2007, with Canadian Foreign Minister Peter Mackay, who is currently visiting Israel. The two men discussed the situation in the Middle East, especially the process between Israel and the Palestinians and the Iranian issue. The Prime Minister emphasized that – in his view – the free world must take a determined stand, in both word and deed, against Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s open declarations, and explained the importance of the entire international community taking a moral stand against the leader of one United Nations member state who calls for the destruction of another.

The two men also discussed Syria. Prime Minister Olmert said that while he favors peace with Syria, he does not identify the current Syrian regime as being at all willing to change its positions, which do not jibe with basic international rules. He noted that the current Syrian regime continues to openly support Hizbullah and Hamas terrorism, as well as terrorism in Iraq, and maintains a tight strategic alliance with Iran.

Prime Minister Olmert expressed deep appreciation for the Canadian administration’s support of Israel, even in difficult periods, and added that he hopes for increased commercial cooperation between the two countries.