FM Levy Meets President of Slovakia

(Communicated by Foreign Ministry Spokesman)
February 8, 2000

Foreign Minister David Levy met today (8/2) in Jerusalem with the President of Slovakia Rudolf Schuster. In their meeting the two discussed the IDF’s operations in Lebanon last night.

Foreign Minister Levy stated that: "The operation yesterday was necessary. Our sense of responsibility often causes us to hold back – however the other side interprets this as weakness and uses it to cause much damage. Our operation last night was a warning sign for those who are trying to sow ruin and destruction. I hope that the warning will be heeded. Peace is not achieved by submission of the other side, but rather when the two sides have a common interest in achieving peace".

"The Syrians are not preventing the occurrences in Lebanon because of the mistaken viewpoint that this will tire us and we will accept any condition – there is no greater mistake than this. We are moving towards peace by choice and not by submission," said Foreign Minister Levy.

The Foreign Minister added that "As far as Lebanon is concerned, it would sign a peace treaty with Israel within 24 hours. We have no dispute with them on any subject and we are interested in their independence, but Lebanon is in a position of weakness that does not allow this to happen".

With regards to the peace process with the Palestinians, Levy said that "as long as the Palestinians are aiming for something that is not in the agreement – they are declaring a crisis. We are determined to advance despite the many difficulties in the way. I hope that wisdom will dictate the upcoming steps".

The meeting took place after an emotional visit this morning by President Schuster to "Yad Vashem" Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Memorial, during which the President apologized for the stand of fascist Slovakia during the time of the Holocaust.

Foreign Minister Levy praised President Schuster and his delegation for their plans to sent teachers from Slovakia to "Yad Vashem" to study and pass on to their students the correct attitude towards the Holocaust and its lessons. Levy also thanked Schuster for his determined stand against the extremist phenomenon in Austria as represented by Joerg Haider and his party, and for his intention to act in the field of education to prevent such a phenomenon and to teach the lessons of the past.

The Foreign Minister and visiting President decided to work to improve relations between Israel and Slovakia – which were described by both as excellent – especially in the area of economic cooperation, while emphasizing the subject of hi-tech.

Foreign Minister Levy was invited to visit Bratislava by President Schuster and the Foreign Minister of Slovakia, Eduard Kukan.

At the end of the meeting, Foreign Minister Levy and the Minister of Agriculture of Slovakia Pavol Koncos signed an agreement on agricultural cooperation between the two states.