(Communicated by the President’s Media Adviser)

President Moshe Katsav today (Monday), 21 March 2005, accepted the credentials of five new ambassadors: Ramiro Cibrian Uzal from the European Union, Hans Jacob Biorn Lian from Norway, Carlos Rico-Ferrat from Mexico, Dr. Marouf Suleiman Bakhit from Jordan and Muhammad Assem Ibrahim from Egypt.  Foreign Ministry Director-General Ron Prosor and senior Foreign Ministry officials were also present.

President Katsav told the ambassadors of the essential and pressing need to put an end to Palestinian terrorist attacks. He said: “We have an historical opportunity to achieve reconciliation and calm in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We can achieve this in the coming years.  We must not let terrorism push it off to the next decade.” The ambassadors agreed with President Katsav and asked that Israel assist Palestinian Authority Chairman Abu Mazen in establishing his position via additional measures to ease restrictions on the Palestinian population.

President Katsav told Egyptian Ambassador Muhammad Assem Ibrahim of his desire to see an improvement in bilateral relations: “Egypt has an important role in the international and regional arenas. Egypt can bring about historic changes in the region and I commend Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak for his efforts to bring about a cease-fire in the Israeli-Palestinian sphere.” The President expressed his desire to open a dialogue with Egyptian intellectuals in order to understand their negative attitude toward Israel. President Katsav invited Egyptian President Mubarak to visit Israel and said, “Such a visit would have a positive effect on Egyptian public opinion.”