FM Shalom met with Javier Solana and expressed criticism of the manner in which the EU states voted at the UN General Assembly.
(Communicated by the Foreign Minister’s Bureau)
Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom met today (July 22) with the Secretary General of the Council of the European Union, Dr. Javier Solana.
The Foreign Minister expressed criticism of the manner in which the EU states voted at the UN General Assembly, and said, "My government and I are deeply disappointed by the decision regarding the anti-terrorist fence, which is a non-violent measure. This is in effect a decision against our right to protect the lives of our citizens." Minister Shalom added that the European vote will encourage the Palestinians to relinquish responsibility to act against terrorism. If Europe wishes to play a significant role, it must urge reforms in the Palestinian Authority, and not serve as a tool of Palestinian manipulation.
With regard to relations between Israel and the EU states, Solana responded by saying that in contrast to possible impressions, relations and cooperation between Israel and Europe are currently at the highest level, and expressed the hope that both would continue to work together, even in the absence of full agreement.
In reference to the proposal by Omar Suleiman to hold a meeting at the level of foreign ministers between the US, Egypt, Israel and the Palestinians, FM Shalom said that Israel is not opposed to contacts on any level, but that such a meeting cannot serve as a substitute for the war against terrorism and terror infrastructure. He added that Arafat is trying to win time. So long as Arafat remains in the region, there will be no progress.