Jerusalem, August 18, 2003
(Communicated by the foreign minister’s media adviser)
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Silvan Shalom met today (Monday) with Japanese Special Envoy Tatsuo Arima. Foreign Minister Shalom said that he looked forward to his upcoming visit to Tokyo and to meeting with his colleagues there. He added that he will work to improve bilateral relations between the two countries and discuss the role that Japan can play in the peace process.
Special Envoy Arima said that he was in the region to find out how the Road Map is progressing. "Despite the many problems," he said, "I am reasonably optimistic." He praised Israel for taking brave steps and expressed hope that the Palestinian Authority will be successful in managing security.
In answer to questions from reporters, Foreign Minister Shalom said that Israel would withdraw from additional cities in the West Bank only when the Palestinian Authority took upon itself the commitment to stop violence and terrorism emanating from those cities. While Israel is implementing the Road Map, he suggested that the PA finally take the strategic decision to dismantle terrorist organizations.