Jerusalem, February 11, 2004

FM Shalom Meets Indian PM Vajpayee and President Kalam
(Communicated by the Foreign Minister’s Bureau)

 FM Shalom Meets Indian PM Vajpayee and President Kalam-Feb 11- 2004
©GPO 
 FM Shalom Meets Indian PM Vajpayee and President Kalam-Feb 11- 2004

FM Silvan Shalom meets with Indian PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee in Delhi
(Feb 11, 2004)

Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee told Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Silvan Shalom during their meeting today (February 11, 2004) that India welcomed Prime Minister Sharon’s decision to dismantle settlements in Gaza.

In response to a question by PM Vajpayee regarding how Israel is dealing with the multiplicity of the Palestinian Security Services, FM Shalom explained that the Palestinian factionalization is part of the on-going attempt by the PA to avoid implementing commitments pursuant to Phase I of the Roadmap, namely dismantling the infrastructure of terrorism.

The Indian PM welcomed Israel’s decision to reopen its Consulate in Mumbai, originally opened in 1950, decades before India and Israel established formal relations.

The Indian PM asked FM Shalom to send greetings Prime Minister Sharon and wish him a speedy and complete recovery. Shalom relayed to Vajpayee an official invitation from PM Sharon to visit Israel.

During FM Shalom’s meeting with Indian President Abdul Kalam, the Indian President emphasized the need to stand firm against terrorism and noted that after the September 11th attacks, the world understands the need to actively fight against terror. He added that efforts against terror must be complemented by understanding and patience between world religions and efforts against poverty.

FM Shalom said that fundamental, extremist Islamic leaders from within the PA are taking advantage of poverty to recruit Palestinian youth to carry out suicide attacks – a phenomenon that continues to grow more severe.