Two important agreements were attained during the negotiation period: the principle of subordination to the Roadmap, and the understanding that we are at the activation stage of a process during which all issues were placed on the table.

(Communicated by the Foreign Minister’s Bureau)

Following are remarks made by Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Tzipi Livni on Annapolis at the cabinet meeting held today (Monday, 19 November 2007):

"To understand why we are entering the process, we must define our interests and understand the developments going on around us. The region is in a process of radicalization, including religious radicalization; Islamic movements are gaining momentum and power, and using democratic processes to gain control.

Simultaneously, there are delegitimization processes in international public opinion regarding the right of Israel to exist as a national home for the Jewish people. The world understands the necessity of creating a Palestinian state, it is perceived as a clear target, but not necessarily as a complete solution to the Palestinian problem.

Israel’s security issues are not a part of the international agenda to the extent we would like them to be. Therefore, Israel’s interest is to try to reach understandings with moderate factions on the ground and to reinforce Israel’s primary interests in these agreements: security and the creation of two national states, each of which provides a full national solution to its people, wherever they may be.

In view of the situation on the ground, we had two possibilities: To wait until the Palestinians created order and began the implementation and then start to negotiate, or to try and check the possibility of bridging the differences with the pragmatic elements on the ground without compromising on the implementation of the obligations detailed in the Roadmap.

We want to verify that we can reach a solution regarding the disputed issues, and only if there is progress regarding the implementation of obligations on the ground will we be able to continue with the implementation. We reached the formula that forms the basis of the negotiations in this manner.

Two important agreements were attained during the negotiation period: One, the principle of subordination to the Roadmap and the second, the understanding that we are at the activation stage of a process, one that has not existed for the past seven years, during which time all the related issues were placed on the table. The resolute support of the Arab world is important; sitting on the fence does not contribute anything. A bilateral dialogue must cause change in the relationship with Israel along the time axis.

I hope the Palestinians will understand the importance of the initiation of a substantial and serious process for the first time in seven years. It will not be simple, there are differences, but we must find out for ourselves if there is a possibility of reaching an agreement with these moderate elements. If not, then in all likelihood it will be much more difficult.

If we are able to reach agreements that are acceptable to us, they will be firmly recognized by the international community as acknowledged agreements, especially with regard to security issues.

The dialogue does not and must not prevent us from taking action at anytime to contend with terrorist activities".