Israel – European Union

(Communicated by the Foreign Minister’s Bureau)
April 15, 2002

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw spoke today (15 April) with Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, and informed him that the proposed session of the EU Association Council will not be convened on the basis of the Association Agreement’s clause regarding human rights abuse. This means that Israel’s integration into the EU is not presently being threatened.

Mr. Straw stressed the importance of setting a target date for Israel’s withdrawal. Peres replied that Israel is trying to see whether it is possible to accelerate the conclusion of the operation that was originally set to last for about 4 weeks – of which more than two weeks have already passed.

Mr. Peres also clarified to the British Secretary of State that there were not 250 fatalities in Jenin, as had been erroneously reported.

Earlier today, Foreign Minister Peres spoke with EU High Representative Javier Solana, in order to preclude any decision to impose sanctions against Israel.