Jerusalem, January 21, 2004

Israel’s Participation in the Stockholm Conference on Genocide
(Communicated by the Foreign Ministry Spokesman)

Israel has decided to lower the level of its representation at the Conference on the Prevention of Genocide scheduled to take place in Stockholm next week. Israel will be represented by low-ranking officials only.

Israel regrets that the conditions are not favorable to representation on a more senior level.

Swedish Foreign Minister Laila Freivolds called Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom this morning. During the conversation, the Swedish minister expressed regret over the incident and reiterated the Swedish government’s condemnation of all terrorism, especially suicide terror. She noted the good relations between the two states and the two peoples.

Mr. Shalom made clear to the Swedish foreign minister the deep shock felt by the Israeli people at the inclusion of such a repulsive exhibit at an exhibition connected to a conference on the subject of the prevention of genocide. He called on Sweden to act vigorously to promote relations and understanding between the two states, especially in light of the damage caused by the exhibit to public opinion in both countries.

Considering the importance of the Conference for the Prevention of Genocide, the fourth and final part in a series of conferences initiated by the Swedish prime minister, and the seriousness with which Israel views the fact that the offensive exhibit is still being displayed, it was decided that Israel will be represented at the conference by low-ranking officials, and not on the level that was originally planned.