(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon spoke this afternoon (Friday), 15 October 2004, with Australian Prime Minister John Howard and congratulated him on his recent election victory.

Prime Minister Sharon said that Australia is a true friend of Israel and congratulated his Australian counterpart on his winning the freedom medal that he received on behalf of his work for freedom and human rights.

Prime Minister Sharon thanked Australian Prime Minister Howard and the Australian government for Australia’s support for the State of Israel and the understanding that they have shown for Israel’s need to fight terrorism. The two men discussed the need to unify forces in the war against global terrorism.

Australian Prime Minister Howard expressed solidarity with the difficulties and threats facing Israel and said that Israel must take steps in order to defend itself.

The two men also discussed the disengagement plan; Australian Prime Minister Howard expressed his support for advancing the plan.

Prime Minister Sharon invited his Australian counterpart to visit Israel.