Jerusalem, 7 March 2000

PM Barak Meets Mexican President Zedillo

(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

Prime Minister Ehud Barak met yesterday evening (Monday), 6.3.2000, with President of Mexico Ernesto Zedillo. Foreign Minister David Levy and Mexican Foreign Minister Rosario Green were present at the meeting.

The meeting covered bilateral economic relations and the free trade agreement which was signed yesterday between Mexico and Israel. Prime Minister Barak congratulated President Zedillo on the impressive achievements made by the Mexican economy in recent years, and expressed the hope that the agreement will lead to a significant break-through in commercial relations between the two countries.

President Zedillo hailed a new era of economic relations between Israel and Mexico and noted that the two governments have created an opportunity for their respective business communities to significantly expand their activities.

Prime Minister Barak also briefed President Zedillo on the peace process. He stated that while the gaps between Israel and Syria are not great, there is no certainty that an agreement can be reached that will bridge them. Regarding the Palestinian track, he stated that although there are significant gaps, the close recognition and the system of relations that exists between the sides are likely to help settle the conflict.

Prime Minister Barak also detailed the significance of the recent Cabinet decision to redeploy the IDF along the international border with Lebanon by July.

President Zedillo expressed his support for the Government of Israel’s efforts to achieve peace.

This is the first visit to Israel by a President of Mexico since Luis Echeverria’s in 1975.