FM Levy Meets EU Envoy Moratinos

(Communicated by Foreign Ministry Spokesman)
24 November 1999

Foreign Minister David Levy met yesterday morning (Tuesday), 23.11.99, with European Union envoy Miguel Moratinos, who is on his way to Damascus.

Mr. Moratinos reiterated his assessment that Syrian President Hafez al-Assad believes in peace and the resumption of the negotiations with Israel. He informed Foreign Minister Levy of Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov’s intention – in cooperation with the Americans – to convene a meeting of the steering committee at the foreign ministers level in order to discuss resumption of the multilateral talks.

Foreign Minister Levy updated Mr. Moratinos on the letter that he received from his Russian counterpart inviting him to visit Moscow in order to discuss bilateral relations and ways to advance the peace process.

Foreign Minister Levy asked Mr. Moratinos to convey a message to Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat, with whom he was scheduled to meet yesterday, that, "The Palestinians must not harbor illusions that the Israeli Government will change its decision on the withdrawal. Suspending the talks harms the process and leads to foot-dragging, thus creating an artificial crisis atmosphere, and has no chance of succeeding."

Foreign Minister Levy added that, "The Palestinians must consider where these ill-conceived steps are liable to lead."