Jerusalem, July 13, 2003

FM Silvan Shalom meets with Czech FM Cyril Svoboda
(Communicated by the Foreign Ministry Spokesman)

 FM Silvan Shalom meets with Czech FM Cyril Svoboda-July 13- 2003
©Israel Hadari 

 FM Silvan Shalom meets with Czech FM Cyril Svoboda-July 13- 2003

FM Silvan Shalom meets with Czech FM Cyril Svoboda in Jerusalem
(July 13, 2003)

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom today held a working meeting with his Czech counterpart Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda. The two focused their talks on their countries’ bilateral relations as well as the Middle East peace process.

During his statement at the end of the meeting, Foreign Minister Shalom noted that "Israel sees the Czech Republic as a symbol of great courage and is strengthened by its stoic support and the resolute stand that it has taken against terrorism." Shalom also added that he is encouraged by the Czech Foreign Minister’s decision to split his meetings in Israel and the Palestinian Authority, noting it was important that the world realizes Arafat is an obstacle to the political process between Israel and the Palestinians.

In this regard, Shalom noted, "Israel is committed to the new internationally backed opportunity for peace and is moving the process forward. We are fulfilling the Roadmap and have taken extensive measures to ease conditions, [including] concessions that do not even appear in the Roadmap to demonstrate our good faith like the releasing of Palestinian prisoners."

Foreign Minister Shalom emphasized that "the new Palestinian leadership still has to prove that it has made the strategic decision to abandon violence and pursue only the path of negotiations. While there has been progress, we need to see more serious action in the dismantling of terrorist infrastructure, including the confiscation of illegal weapons and a complete halt to incitement."

The foreign ministers also discussed the very significant role that Europe can play in the process. Foreign Minister Shalom emphasized to his Czech counterpart the need for the international community to speak with a unified and clear voice regarding threats to regional stability. Shalom stated, "We need a no-tolerance approach to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the direct and indirect financing of terrorist groups, including Hamas."

Support for Reversing UEFA Ban
The Czech Foreign Minister also announced that he has sent a letter to the President of UEFA (Union of European Football Associations) to express his country’s support for a decision to enable WAFA football games to take place in Israel, noting that terrorism is a threat to everyone, anywhere, and thus that Israel should not be singled out.