(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon this evening (Thursday), 27 January 2005, addressed a builders and contractors convention In Tel Aviv and made the following remarks:

“We are monitoring recent developments in the Palestinian Authority with great interest and it seems that there is a positive approach there regarding the war on terrorism and advancing the diplomatic process. If the Palestinians take comprehensive action to stop the terrorism, violence and incitement, we will be able to move forward in contacts on implementing the Roadmap and it would even be possible to coordinate with them on various actions regarding the Disengagement Plan. I believe that the conditions have been created which will enable us and the Palestinians to reach a historic breakthrough in relations between us, a breakthrough which would lead us towards quiet and security and – in the future – even the hoped-for peace. We deserve this, all of us. I want to say that we are seeing encouraging signs but these matters must be put to the test.”  Prime Minister Sharon also said that, “We are prepared to go far, we are prepared to make concessions, but in one area we will not make concessions – in the area of security for the State of Israel and its citizens.”

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon also spoke this evening (27 January 2005) with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who telephoned in order to congratulate him on the positive atmosphere that has been created in the region in the wake of the dialogue with the Palestinians. Egyptian President Mubarak said that Egypt would be prepared to assist in advancing the peace process.  The two men agreed to be in close touch and to enhance bilateral relations.