FM Peres Meets with the President of France

(Communicated by the Foreign Minister’s Bureau)
Jerusalem, February 26, 2002

Foreign Minister Shimon Peres met today (February 26) with the President of France, Jacques Chirac, for a meeting that lasted 70 minutes.

At the end of the meeting, the President stated that France believes that peace can be achieved, and that both sides have to be ready to reestablish the dialogue and trust. President Chirac added that France supports the efforts of Peres and Abu Ala, and expressed support for the initiative of Saudi Arabia, viewing it as a significant development.

Foreign Minister Peres stated that international support is required for the initiatives of the parties, and not a solution imposed from the outside. Peres added that a solution would not be achieved without a ceasefire. Foreign Minister Peres noted that the initiative of Saudi Arabia constituted an important proposition, and in spite of the disagreements concerning the opening positions, the initiative should be given further encouragement.

Minister Peres explained the recent decision of the Israeli cabinet to President Chirac, stating that the situation between Israel and the Palestinians had reverted to its former state. Peres added that in the past, as well, the Chairman of the Palestinian Authority had to request permission from Israel before traveling to other areas outside of Ramallah, since this involved passage through areas under Israeli control.