(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, today (Thursday), 10 June 2004, spoke with Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende and updated him on the details of the disengagement plan.  Dutch Prime Minister Balkenende expressed his support for the disengagement plan and expressed his esteem and solidarity for Prime Minister Sharon’s courage and determination in advancing the plan; he added that the Netherlands and the European Union would make every effort to assist in advancing the plan.  (The Netherlands will assume the rotating presidency of the European Union on 1 July 2004.)

Prime Minister Sharon thanked Dutch Prime Minister Balkenende for both the Netherlands’ friendship with Israel and its support.  Prime Minister Sharon added that he was interested in advancing Israel’s relations with both the Netherlands and the EU and invited his Dutch counterpart to visit Israel. Dutch Prime Minister Balkenende invited Prime Minister Sharon to visit the Netherlands.  The two men agreed to meet soon.