(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon this morning (Tuesday), 16 August 2005, received a special letter from UK Prime Minister Tony Blair in which the latter wrote:

“As your government carries out the historic step of disengagement from Gaza and parts of the West Bank, I would like to reiterate the British government ’s full support. I greatly admire the courage with which you have developed and implemented this policy. I believe you are right to see disengagement as an historic opportunity to pursue a better future for Israelis and Palestinians. I look forward to working with you to help achieve this, and to continue working together towards a just and lasting peace, free from the scourge of terrorism.”

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon also received a letter from Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in which the latter wrote:

“I would like to commend the courage and determination of the Israeli government in formulating and implementing the disengagement process from its inception, as well as your personal involvement and leadership. We hope that this step of yours will lead to the opening of a new chapter in the region.

Creating an atmosphere of security and the rule of law in the Palestinian areas, building the necessary infrastructure, improving the Palestinians’ quality of life and implementing the reforms in order to lay the foundations of a democratic state – these are the challenges that must be dealt with together.

In this critical period, I – as a true friend of both Israel and the Palestinians – would like to emphasize my government’s commitment to support both sides on the road to peace.”