(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon met this morning (Tuesday), 9 November 2004, with a French solidarity delegation, which came to Israel in the framework of actions by Keren Hayesod-United Israel Appeal to increase identification with – and support for – Israel.

Prime Minister Sharon briefed his guests on the diplomatic-security situation and the Disengagement Plan, which he described as difficult but necessary. He emphasized the diplomatic, security and strategic solutions in the Plan, which will strengthen Israel.

Prime Minister Sharon stressed Israel’s commitment to peace and its readiness to make painful concessions in exchange for a genuine peace, but not concessions that involve the security of Israel and its citizens.

Regarding the Palestinian Authority, Prime Minister Sharon said that if the new Palestinian leadership works to halt terrorism, defeat violence and implement its Roadmap commitments, it will be possible to return to the diplomatic process and to negotiations.

Prime Minister Sharon discussed the Iranian nuclear threat and said that while France and the European countries are acting to pressure Iran, this is insufficient and they should work towards imposing sanctions until the Iranian nuclear program is halted.

Prime Minister Sharon expressed Israel’s gratitude and appreciation for the delegation’s work on anti-Semitism and emphasized that today the delegation’ s work was more important to Israel than ever.