|Acting FM Ben-Ami Meets with British FM Cook
(Communicated by Foreign Ministry Spokesman)
Acting Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami stated, at the end of his meeting today (29 August) in London with his British counterpart, Robin Cook: "Prime Minister Barak is sacrificing narrow political interests for the sake of historic national considerations. Decisions by leaders from both sides must be based on reality, not on dreams. I hope Arafat understands this. The Barak government has caused a true revolution in world public opinion, favorable to Israel."
British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook expressed his appreciation and that of Prime Minister Tony Blair for the courage displayed by Prime Minister Barak and Foreign Minister Ben-Ami. Cook added that England is prepared to provide economic assistance to help resolve the refugee problem, and will do everything in its power to convince the sides to successfully conclude the negotiations.
Concerning the possibility that the Palestinians will unilaterally declare statehood, Foreign Secretary Cook expressed the hope that they will be willing and able to recognize the opportunity offered by negotiations. Blair and Cook are expected to speak with Arafat in a similar vein at the meeting to be held in New York at the beginning of September.
In the afternoon, Minister Ben-Ami departed for Berlin, where he will meet tomorrow (30 August) with German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer and with Defense Minister Rudolf Scharping. Minister Ben-Ami will place a wreath at the monument commemorating the deportation of Berlin’s Jews to the death camps. From there, Ben-Ami will continue on to Amsterdam, and on Thursday morning will return to Israel.