Acting FM Ben-Ami Meets with French FM Vedrine

(Communicated by Foreign Ministry Spokesman)
August 28, 2000

Acting Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami held a working meeting with his French counterpart Hubert Vedrine at the French Foreign Ministry in Paris. The meeting lasted three hours. Ben-Ami briefed his host on the main points of the Camp David talks and discussed with him in detail the issues of borders, settlement blocs, security and Jerusalem.

Minister Ben-Ami made clear to Minister Vedrine, currently serving as President of the EU, that the moment of truth is at hand. Arafat must make important decisions if he wishes to reach a peace agreement that will put an end to the conflict.

Ben-Ami noted France’s special role and moral and political position in the eyes of the Palestinians and asked Vedrine to use his influence with them.

The French Foreign Minister said: "A unilateral declaration is not in the interest of the Palestinians." Vedrine further stated that "France would like to be of assistance" and expressed the hope that "the Jerusalem Conference in Morocco will not make any decisions that will constitute an obstacle to the continuation of the peace process."

Minister Ben-Ami added: "Europe can best help further the peace process by telling Arafat the hard truth, that the decisive moment has arrived and that this process will not last forever."

Minister Ben-Ami will depart this evening for London, where he will meet with the British Foreign Minister, Robin Cook, tomorrow (29 August).