FM Levy Meets Dutch PM Kok

(Communicated by Foreign Ministry Spokesman)
April 3, 2000

On Sunday, April 2, Israel Foreign Minister David Levy met with Dutch Prime Minister Willem Kok, and updated him on the latest developments in the peace process. Levy told his guest that "we are in a surrealistic situation, in which we have announced a departure from Lebanon, and the Syrian and Lebanese react as if we intend to provoke them."

Levy also briefed the Dutch Prime Minister on his intention to meet with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in the near future.

"We have taken a decision to leave Lebanon and it is very important for international bodies to address the content of United Nations Security Council Resolution 425," Levy said.

"Israel is interested in international cooperation regarding the demarcation of the border, and in the establishment of an effective apparatus which will prevent any additional deterioration in Lebanon. Perhaps the change in the situation will bring Syria to accelerate the peace process, when they realize the gravity of the issue."

Levy added, "President Assad resembles the Egyptian Sphinx, whose nose has been eroded by time and wind, so that it is difficult to recognize. Perhaps Assad’s nose has also lost its sense of direction. Yet I hope that ultimately, he will be guided by common sense."

Regarding the recent statements made by Lebanese Defense Minister Ghazi Zuayter, Levy stated, "They testify to confusion and frustration. It is possible that he sent up a trial balloon in order to test the reaction. In any case, Israel is prepared and if anything happens, we will react with all seriousness."