Jerusalem, June 22, 2003

FM Shalom holds meetings at World Economic Forum in Jordan
(Communicated by the Foreign Minister’s Media Adviser)

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom met this morning with his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul. Foreign Minister Shalom stated that he expects Turkey to join the EU. The two ministers discussed the peace process. Foreign Minister Shalom told his counterpart that terrorism must cease, and that the Palestinians had to make a strategic decision to dismantle the terrorist infrastructures.

The Turkish Foreign Minister said that Turkey is ready to assist in the advancement of the process, and he proposed that Turkey could host summit talks. Foreign Minister Shalom stated that the international community together with the Arab countries had to make strategic decisions, in order to pressure the Palestinians to end the terrorism. He added that "this is a long journey that must begin with small steps – a ceasefire is a ticking bomb, and, therefore, we cannot agree to it. The Road Map clearly states that in the first stage, the terror must cease. The Palestinians will not achieve anything through terrorism."

In addition, the issue of a free trade area was raised. The Foreign Minister put forward the possibility that Israeli companies could be involved once again as partners in the project.

Foreign Minister Shalom also met with Palestinian Finance Minister Salaam Fayyad. Shalom stated that Israel wants to move forward with the process, and this would require the cessation of terrorism and incitement. He added, "I know that it is very difficult, but we must begin sometime, and earlier is preferable to later." The Foreign Minister proposed the promotion of joint economic projects, and stated that the private sector can act as a bridge. Finance Minister Salaam requested that the ties between the private sectors be strengthened, and appealed for assistance in the employment domain.

Foreign Minister Shalom said that Israel has carried out its obligations, and that if terrorism is halted, there will be an improvement. He added that Israel would not take any action that could harm the security of Israel’s citizens.

Foreign Minister Shalom also met with Crown Prince of Bahrain Salman bin Hamad. The two discussed the peace process. Minister Shalom stated, "I have no doubt that we have a common future together, and that the relations between the two countries must be strengthened. We are serious in our intentions, and we wish to upgrade our ties." Crown Prince bin Hamad stated that he hoped that there would be movement in the process.

Foreign Minister Shalom is also holding a meeting with his counterpart Marwan Muasher.