FM Levy Meets with French PM Jospin

(Communicated by Foreign Ministry Spokesman)
February 24, 2000

Foreign Minister David Levy met today (24 Feb.) with the Prime Minister of France, Lionel Jospin, and his French colleague, Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine, updating them on the state of the peace process.

Foreign Minister Levy referred to the present difficulties in the negotiations and emphasized that it is not possible to advance the process in this type of atmosphere. The minister strongly condemned the recent phenomena of anti-Israel rhetoric witnessed in the Arab world and on the part of the Palestinians, saying that: "It is not possible to conduct serious and responsible negotiations with violent slogans, confrontational rhetoric and even calls for a Jihad. The Palestinians must adopt a code of conduct so that we can continue on our path to peace".

The Foreign Minister emphasized the need for the other side to understand that they too are committed to compromise. "Whoever believes that the government of Israel will agree to return to the 1967 borders or to the partition of Jerusalem, is totally mistaken", the minister added and reiterated the commitment of the government of Prime Minister Barak to reach comprehensive peace this year.

The visiting Prime Minister expressed understanding for Israel’s position, in the hope that Israel will know how to take the necessary steps to accelerate the peace process while safeguarding its security.

Foreign Minister Levy, who noted his deep appreciation for Prime Minister Jospin’s friendship, also expressed great satisfaction over the decision taken by the French government to devote new energies to relations between Israel and France, stating that Israel expects to upgrade the economic relations between the two states.