FM Livni met with David Welch, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, prior to the Quartet meeting in Sharm a-Sheikh next week.

Communicated by Foreign Minister’s Bureau

Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Tzipi Livni met with David Welch, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, prior to Secretary Rice’s planned visit at the end of the week and the Quartet meeting scheduled to take place in Sharm a-Sheikh next week.

Minister Livni told Mr. Welch, "The dialogue between Israel and the Palestinian Authority provides a broad framework that allows Israel to ensure its security needs while allowing the Palestinians to effect the necessary changes towards carrying out any future arrangement. For this reason, the dialogue is very important to us. The Israeli public supports and will continue to support a diplomatic process that safeguards Israel’s long-term national and security interests, and Israel will continue to conduct the process  based on these principles."

Minister Livni added, "Israel will continue to promote the diplomatic process, with the backing of the international community, in a way that ensures its interests. The world must support the process and not expect Israel to take shortcuts that would harm its ability to meet its needs."