Jerusalem, September 16, 2003

FM Shalom meets with EU Ambassadors
(Communicated by the Foreign Minister’s Bureau)

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Silvan Shalom met today with the Ambassadors of the 15 EU member states and the 10 enlargement countries at the home of the Italian Ambassador in Ramat Gan.

Minister Shalom told his colleagues that Europe must send a clear message to the Palestinian leadership that only a government which uses all of its resources to combat terrorism will be acceptable to the international community.

Minister Shalom said that there is broad international consensus that Arafat is an obstacle to peace, yet people still rally around him, rather than the true interests of the Palestinian people. "If Arafat is part of the problem," he said, "the appropriate conclusions must be drawn."

The Minister reiterated the commitment of the Government of Israel to reaching a peaceful solution to the conflict through negotiations.

The Foreign Minister welcomed the EU decision taken earlier this month to list Hamas as a terrorist organization with no differentiation between its political and military wings. "This decision is a major contribution both to the war on terror and to the effort to bring peace to the Middle East," the Foreign Minister said.

He also asked the EU to include the Hizbullah on its terrorist list.