Jerusalem, April 4, 2003

Statement by PM Sharon at Beginning of Cabinet Meeting
(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon spoke this afternoon (Friday), April 4, 2003, with Australian Prime Minister John Howard and expressed his deep appreciation for the friendly state of bilateral relations, Australia’s understanding of Israel’s security needs, and Prime Minister Howard’s remarks regarding Israel’s right to live within secure and recognized borders.

Prime Minister Sharon said that Israel and Australia agree on the need to wage an uncompromising struggle against local, regional and global terror, and added that Australia well understands the terror threat following the deaths of 85 Australians in the terrorist attack on Bali last year.

Prime Minister Sharon expressed his highest appreciation for Australia’s participation in the coalition forces fighting in Iraq and said that this is an important mission vis-?-vis the future of both the region and the entire free world.

Australian Prime Minister Howard noted that both he personally and the Australian government as a whole are great supporters of Israel and added that the Australian people have a deep admiration for the people of Israel. Prime Minister Howard said that he is deeply impressed at how the Israeli people have coped with the terror war for the past two years.

Prime Minister Sharon invited his Australian counterpart to visit Israel. Australian Prime Minister Howard accepted the invitation and said that he hopes to make good on it in the near future.