(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon spoke this afternoon (Thursday), 17 March 2005, with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who telephoned in order to update the Prime Minister on the results of the meeting in Cairo. Egyptian President Mubarak said that the Palestinians had reached a good arrangement and that the way was open to move forward.

Prime Minister Sharon thanked the Egyptian President for the update and said that the arrangement that had been achieved in Cairo was a positive first step. However, the Prime Minister made it clear that this was an arrangement for an interim period only and that in order to move forward in the diplomatic process, the terrorist organizations will be unable to continue existing as armed organizations and certainly not as terrorist organizations.

Prime Minister Sharon thanked Egyptian President Mubarak for his efforts to assist in promoting the diplomatic process in the region and said that the Egyptian Ambassador, who arrived in Israel today, will receive full cooperation and will aid in advancing bilateral relations.