(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon met this morning (Friday, 22 July 2005) at his Shikmim ranch with US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice.  The meeting was held in a good atmosphere and lasted approximately 3.5 hours. They discussed various issues regarding the implementation of the Disengagement Plan, such as coordinating the disengagement, crossing points, homes and property, smuggling under the Philadelphi Corridor, etc.

Prime Minister Sharon emphasized the need to pressure the Palestinians to halt terrorism and see to it that there is no firing during the implementation of the disengagement. The two leaders also discussed the terrorist acts that have been perpetrated over the last 10 days and the Palestinian Authority’s obligation to adhere to the agreements and to take vigorous action against the terrorist organizations.

Secretary Rice said that the entire international community in general, as well as US President George W. Bush in particular, esteem Prime Minister Sharon for his brave and historic decision and for the determined way in which he is carrying out the plan.

After the meeting, the two sides held a working breakfast at which they discussed issues such as economic assistance, the Negev and the Galilee, and water.

Prime Minister Sharon and Secretary Rice also toured the Shikmim ranch.