Jerusalem, 13 April 2000

PM Barak Meets Chinese President Jiang
(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Advisor)

Prime Minister Ehud Barak today (Thursday) 13.4.2000, met with President of the People’s Republic of China Jiang Zemin for and hour and a half in a warm and friendly atmosphere.

The Prime Minister briefed President Jiang on the peace process on all tracks. With regard to the Palestinian track, he described the scheduled timetable to achieve the framework agreement within two months and a permanent settlement by September. He emphasized that that there are significant differences between the two sides, and only flexibility and decisiveness by both sides can create the conditions to renew the negotiations.

With regards to the Syrian track, at the request of his guest, the Prime Minister described in detail the principle reasons for the dispute that for now is preventing an agreement, emphasizing that as far as he is concerned, the door is not closed. The Prime Minister appealed to President Jiang, as leader of one the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, describing Israeli policy to implement Resolution 425.

They two leaders discussed a range of regional issues in light of the good relations between China and Iran. In this context, the Prime Minister raised the issue of the 13 Iranian Jews facing trial today, the transfer of Chinese technology to Iran and the POWs and MIAs.

Regarding the Falcon AWACS deal, the Prime Minister stated that Israel respects its relations with China and places great importance on them. However, it is necessary to be aware of the sensitivities of the Americans on this issue and hold discussions with Israel’s friends in the United States in order to try to find a solution acceptable to everyone.

President Jiang Zemin expressed his great esteem for Prime Minister Barak, emphasizing that he has been deeply moved by the courage the Prime Minister has displayed in advancing the peace process. He cited the old Chinese proverb, "It takes a long time to achieve a good thing."

With regard to Sino-Iranian relations, President Zemin said that China will do nothing that could adversely affect the peace process. He emphasized that he will not intervene in the Israeli-American dialogue with regard to the Falcon.