(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon met this evening (Thursday), 6 January 2005, with former US President Jimmy Carter, who has arrived in Israel ahead of the Palestinian Authority (PA) elections on Sunday, 9 January 2005, as the head of a National Democratic Institute delegation of American election monitors.

The two men spoke about their joint work during the signing of the 1979 Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty; former US President Carter said that a large part of his heart will always belong to Israel and the region.

Prime Minister Sharon thanked former US President Carter for his warm remarks, referred to the latter’s great contribution towards advancing the processes in the region, and said that he was the first person to succeed in moving the peace process in the region.

Prime Minister Sharon said that Israel has assisted, and will assist, the Palestinians in order to assure a proper election process in the PA and promised that whatever assistance the observers (<http://tinyurl.com/46co3>) need would be provided immediately by Israel.

Former US President Carter said that he was positively impressed by the steps that Israel was taking in order to assist the Palestinians move the election process forward and commended Prime Minister Sharon’s position on the elections in eastern Jerusalem, which will be held in accordance with the agreements that the former US President made with then Prime Minister Shimon Peres ahead of the 1996 elections.

Prime Minister Sharon updated former US President Carter on terrorist actions against Israel and made it clear that if they continue during the implementation of the Disengagement Plan, Israel’s response would be sharper than ever before.

Prime Minister Sharon said that Israel would not compromise on the Palestinians’ commitments under the Roadmap.  The Prime Minister said that there would be no diplomatic progress until terrorism is halted, the terrorist organizations are eliminated and the incitement stops.  He added that Israel would be satisfied with neither promises nor declarations but wants to see tangible steps.

The two men also discussed the Disengagement Plan and Egyptian involvement in the process.