In their meeting the President said: “Abu Ala must understand the greatness of the hour and take advantage of the historical opportunity to eliminate terrorism and begin the political process which will lead to peace.”

The President of Israel, Mr. Moshe Katsav, today met in his residence with the Prime Minister of the Slovak Republic, Mr. Mikulas Dzurinda, who came with the Minister of Defense and senior government members.  During their meeting President Katsav and the Prime Minister of the Slovak Republic discussed bi-lateral issues, the situation in the Middle East, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the extent to which anti-Semitism is increasing in Europe.

President Katsav said to the Prime Minister that the international community, especially Europe, must act with greater determination against the Palestinian terrorism, for the benefit of the Palestinian people and the entire region.  “The continuation of terrorism does not further the interests of the Palestinian people and Europe must help them understand this.  The formula for co-existence exists but a good atmosphere is needed in order to realize it.”  The President praised the positions taken by the Prime Minister of the Slovak Republic, both regarding the need to fight terrorism, as well as the foreign policy adopted by his government.

On the issue of anti-Semitism, President Katsav said: “The anti-Semitic manifestations harm human, universal and western cultural values.  In Europe some people connect the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with anti-Semitism.”  

The Prime Minister of the Slovak Republic said:  “It is the duty of the European leaders to influence their people, to teach them tolerance and to fight against all manifestations of anti-Semitism.  Great note must be taken of these manifestations and care must be taken not to reduce their destructive significance.”

In reply to the questions of the press, the President said:  “I welcome the election of Abu Ala as the Palestinian Prime Minister and call on him to understand the greatness of the hour and to make use of the historical opportunity to eradicate terrorism and the infrastructure of the terrorist organizations and to start a political process which is likely to lead to reconciliation, compromise and peace.  The key is now in Abu Ala’s hands.   He must exercise his authority on all Palestinian society and he must not permit the terrorist organizations to act.  The State of Israel will not tolerate terror,” added President Katsav and emphasized Israel’s interest in executing the Roadmap.

The Prime Minister of the Slovak Republic emphasized that he fully understands Israel’s position and that his country will continue with an independent foreign policy, even after joining the European Union in May 2004.