PM Sharon Meets delegation from Congress Appropriations Committee
(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon met this evening in his Bureau with Jim Kolbe, Chairman of the Subcommittee for Foreign Activities of the U.S. Congress’ Appropriations Committee.
During the meeting, which was held following the Committee members’ visit to the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah, the Prime Minister stressed Israel’s commitment to peace and stability in the Middle East. The Prime Minister explained the efforts and the activities taken by the Government in order to bring about a cessation in the violence and terror from the Palestinian Authority. Prime Minister Sharon stated that the easing of restrictions on Palestinian residents who are not involved in terror, will be carried out without regard to violence or terror.
The Prime Minister reiterated that Israel will conduct diplomatic negotiations with the Palestinian Authority only after the violence and terror have ceased, as well as the firing of mortars initiated and planned by the organizations and security forces under the full control of the Chairman of the Palestinian Authority Arafat.
"The solution to this problem is not declarations, but the giving of an order by the Chairman of the Palestinian Authority to his forces, and by the practical steps he must take to stop the violence, terror and incitement", said the Prime Minister, who told the Committee members that he raised these issues in his conversation last night with President Bush.
The Prime Minister thanked Chairman Kolbe and the Committee members for their support of Israel and emphasized his commitment for working towards promoting relations and cooperation with the Congress. In addition the Prime Minister emphasized that the Government of Israel will work in complete coordination with the United States, while taking into account its interests, and clarified that we are ready to consider compromises and gestures. Nevertheless, there is one issue we cannot compromise on: security and peace for the citizens of Israel.
At the conclusion of the meeting the Prime Minister requested the assistance of the Chairman of the Committee and members of Congress regarding the fate of the missing and kidnapped soldiers in Lebanon, in coordination with the Coordinator for POW and missing soldiers’ affairs in the Prime Minister’s office, Maj. Gen. (res.) Ilan Biran, who attended the meeting.
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