FM Levy Meets UK Conservative Leader Hague

(Communicated by Foreign Ministry Spokesman)
June 1, 2000

Foreign Minister David Levy met yesterday (May 31) with the leader of the Conservative Party of Britain, William Hague, and updated him regarding the withdrawal from Lebanon and the peace process with the Palestinians.

In regard to the peace process with the Palestinians, Foreign Minister Levy stated:

– The Palestinians are entertaining the idea that there is a state, but the territory referred to is within the borders of the cease-fire line determined with Jordan. We are going to create a new situation which entails risks, and also requires flexibility and compromise from the other side.

– "I would like to be optimistic, but I see no signs of flexibility from Arafat. The meeting between Clinton and Barak is a positive reflection of the friendship between the two countries".

In regard to the IDF withdrawal from Lebanon carried out in accordance with Security Council Resolution 425, Foreign Minister Levy stated:

– Israel has shown and continues to show restraint in the face of provocations. "Is this simply a case of giving vent to one’s emotions and a precursor of the quiet to come, or unrest indicating a return to the cycle of violence? At present, it is still unclear."

– The armed militias constitute a timebomb at the door of the central government in Lebanon.

– Only a country as strong and determined as Israel could have decided upon and carried out the withdrawal. Israel showed self-confidence, military courage and political foresight.

– Following many years of troubles in Lebanon, the Government of Lebanon now has the opportunity to bring calm, restore sovereignty and rehabilitation. "The onus is now on Lebanon, and we have to see which path it chooses: will Lebanon choose the path which serves its interests or the one in which it will remain the playground of other parties. If it plays the games of others, it is playing with fire in its own home."