(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

Following are the remarks of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and US Secretary of State Dr. Condoleeza Rice at the beginning of their meeting on Sunday, 6 February 2005:

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon: “Good evening, I am pleased to host US Secretary of State Dr. Condoleeza Rice. Dr. Rice knows Israel and its problems very well and I am sure that her visit here will contribute to advancing bilateral relations, which have been traditional for many years, and to advancing the peace process which we all want to advance so much. Welcome, you are among friends.”

US Secretary of State Dr. Condoleeza Rice: “Thank you, Mr. Prime Minister; I know that. I bring greetings to you from President Bush, and I just want to say that of course the relationship between the US and Israel is based on such a firm foundation because we share not just interests but values. I look forward to working with you to try to advance the cause of peace and to overcome the scourge of terrorism. I will of course travel tomorrow to meet also with President Mahmud Abbas, and I look forward to working with him. And we are very glad that you will meet with him in [Sharm el-Sheikh] on Tuesday. This is a hopeful time, but it is a time also of great responsibility for all of us to make certain that we act on the words we speak. Thank you very much.”