July 23, 2003

Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom meets with
US Vice President Dick Cheney

(Communicated by the Foreign Minister’s Media Adviser)

 FM Silvan Shalom meets with US Vice President Dick Cheney-July 23- 2003

©Shahar Azran
FM Silvan Shalom (right) meets with US Vice Pres. Dick Cheney
(Washington, DC, July 23, 2003)

Today (July 23), Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom met in Washington with US Vice President Dick Cheney. At their meeting, Minister Shalom stated that Israel is encouraged by the recent news arriving from Iraq. "Perhaps now Iran will understand that the United States is very serious in its effort to combat terrorism and tyranny in the region," Shalom said. "This a great day for America’s friends and a very sad day for her enemies."

Minister Shalom and the vice president went on to discuss the implementation of the "road map" to peace. The foreign minister noted that a change has indeed occurred since Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) has become the Palestinian Authority prime minister, yet he is still not taking sufficient action against the terrorist groups. Shalom stressed that, in order to complete the process, the Palestinians must eradicate the terrorist infrastructure.

The minister briefed his host on developments in the territories, describing how Syria and Iran are financing and sponsoring groups within the West Bank and Gaza Strip, encouraging them to violate the "hudna" (the current terrorists’ cease-fire). "Abu Mazen’s approach is more positive," Shalom stated, "but we cannot continue on to the second phase of the road map if the Palestinians will not complete their part of the first phase.

"They have the capacity to fulfill their obligations, and we expect them to do so. We, for our part, will continue to take action to improve conditions for the Palestinian population, to the extent, of course, that such measures won’t jeopardize our own security."