Israel Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami and
Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem
following their meeting
Jerusalem, 22 November 2000
Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem: My colleague, my friend Ben-Ami, invited me to exchange some views on the present situation, and we have had a very friendly talk, friendly discussions, and of course, as everyone in the region, in the world, in fact, we try to see if there is any modest contribution that we can have to facilitate, to overcome this very difficult situation.
Israeli Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami: We indeed had a very friendly review of the state of the question right now between Israel and the Palestinians. We shared views, ideas, about the best possible ways to improve the situation on the ground and create the conditions for better days between Israel and the Palestinians. We value very very much both the visit and the potential contribution of Minister Ismail Cem, and indeed of the government of Turkey, and therefore this visit has a special meaning, I expect not only for us but also for our neighbors the Palestinians, and we look forward to further talks with our friends. He will be seeing the President of the State of Israel later on, he will be seeing the Prime Minister, and this exchange of views that started between us will proceed. Thank you very much.
To a question on the fact-finding commission, Minister Ben-Ami replied:
No, we never asked for a delay. The only thing that we asked for is implementation of the Sharm el-Sheikh agreement, and the fact-finding commission is, as you may know, part and parcel of the Sharm el-Sheikh agreement, it was not created out of the blue. We support the creation of the commission, we expect the commission to put together its working proceedures, and we obviously expect that it will start operation in an atmosphere that is more susceptible to allow the members of the commission to do their work, because as you know the situation now is not very calm. I take notice of what the National Security Adviser what said, that the positions of Israel, or the consent of Israel will be taken into consideration…
We are here in the middle of a very difficult crisis. We went to Camp David with the best of intentions. We – the Americans, Israelis, Palestinians – made proposals on some issues that were considered and contemplated, and we made progress. This is a government that came to the Palestinians with an alternative to violence, that is a peace package. And to an acceptable peace package, one normally expects that the answer would be counter-proposals, rather than violence. So if there are any counter-proposals to those ideas – framework of ideas, some of them America’s, not Israel’s at all – then they can be contemplated once we have violence subsiding.
||Outbreak of Violence in Jerusalem and the Territories – Sept/Oct 2000|