Jerusalem, November 12, 2003

FM Shalom meets with Slovakian PM Mikulas Dzurinda
(Communicated by the Foreign Minister’s Bureau)

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom met with Slovakian Prime Minister Mikulas Dzurinda. Foreign Minister Shalom said that he was "very encouraged" byt the visit of the Slovakian Prime Minister, and expressed his hope that by joining the European Union, Slovakia will bring its influence to the Euopean arena for a more balanced approach toward the Middle East. The Slovakian Prime Minister expressed his desire to help improve even more relations between Israel and Europe, especially when it joins the European Union. Both leaders discussed deepening commerical and economic ties between both countries.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Silvan Shalom answered questions from the press this morning at the start of his working lunch with the Prime Minister of Slovakia Mikulas Dzurinda.

In response to a question regarding Arafat’s speech today and the formation of a new Palestinian government:

Shalom: Arafat has never implemented even one the commitments or promises that he has made over the past 10 years. In 1993, Arafat sent a letter to the Norwegian Prime Minister renouncing the use of terrorism to achieve his goals. Since then he has brought the phenomenon of suicide bombers to Israel and has supported and been involved in terrorist attacks. If the new Palestinian Government is serious about pursuing peace and takes action to dismantle the infrastructure of terrorism, they will find Israel a real partner.

In response to a question about Israel-Europe relations:

Shalom: Since I assumed office, I made it clear that I did not believe in the existing formula that Israel can live without Europe and Europe can live without Israel. We have seen real progress in our relationship with Europe. I believe that Europe can play a key role in the peace process if they adopt a more balanced approach. I would like to welcome the Prime Minister of Slovakia here today. Israel and Slovakia share a close friendship. Slovakia will join the EU next year and I am confident that it will use its influence on other EU members to garner a balanced approach vis-a-vis the conflict here in the region.

 FM Shalom meets with Slovakian PM Mikulas Dzurinda-Nov 12- 2003
 FM Shalom meets with Slovakian PM Mikulas Dzurinda-Nov 12- 2003
Statement to the press by PM Ariel Sharon after meeting with Slovakian PM Mikulas Dzurinda – Nov 11, 2003