| FM Sharon Meets EU Special Envoy Moratinos
(Communicated by the Foreign Ministry Spokesman)
Foreign Minister Ariel Sharon today (Friday) 29.1.99, met European Union Special Envoy Miguel Moratinos for a working meeting at his farm.
The focus of the meeting was Minister Sharon’s iniative for EU aid for a regional desalination plant which he has already presented to current EU President and German Foreign Minsiter President Joschke Fischer.
Mr. Moratinos told Minister Sharon that he views European participataion in this project positively and it will be one of the issues on the agenda when Mr. Moratinos next meets the EU President. Mr. Moratinos also promised to promote the project when he meets with representatives of the Palestinian Authority.
Minister Sharon stated that Israel views with great severity the recent biased decision of the EU Council of Foreign Ministers that blames Israel for the delay in the implementation of the Wye River Memorandum. Sharon called the decision a distortion of justice. He explaned to his guest what Israel has already done to carry out the Wye agreement while the Palestinians conctinue to violate it, especially those articles dealing with security, and presented him documents that show this. He said that Israel is prepared to continue to implement the Wye agreement, and it does not need to prove its commitment to peace. But Israel will not accept any dictates or pressure from anyone on matters concerning its security and existence.
The foreign minister passed a message to Damscus via Special Envoy Moratinos, stating that Israel is willing to begin peace negotiations with Syria.
At the end of the meeting, Mr. Moratinos said that he is determined to improve relations between the Euroepan Union and Israel and that he takes it upon himself to promote active involvement by the EU in the desalination project prosed by Minister Sharon. According to Moratinos, such a project can only have winners and no losers.
Foreign Minister Sharon sent his regards to current EU President Fischer and said that Israel looks forward to deepening relations with the EU and the active participation of EU countries in the promotion of projects that will improve the welfare of all the region’s residents.