The Foreign Minister’s visit to Israel today is a reflection of the warm friendship and intimate dialogue between our two countries.
Statement by Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom after meeting with Turkish Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Abdullah Gul
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Jerusalem
It is my great pleasure to welcome my friend and colleague, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Abdullah Gul, to Jerusalem. Foreign Minister Gul and I have met many times – in Turkey, in New York and other capitals – and I am glad that the opportunity has finally come for us to meet here in the capital of Israel.
The Foreign Minister’s visit to Israel today is a reflection of the warm friendship and intimate dialogue between our two countries. In our discussions, we agreed to intensify our contacts and collaboration in order to bring our bilateral ties to new heights, and it is my hope, that as a result of Foreign Minister Gul’s visit, we will also have the pleasure of hosting Prime Minister Erdogan in the very near future.
Both countries have much to gain from such high-level contacts. Particularly in the field of trade and investment, the potential for mutual benefit from closer ties, is immense.
The partnership between Israel and Turkey is one of the foundations on which the stability of our region is built. It is also an example of the benefits for all, of cooperation between Israel and our regional neighbors. I am convinced that as more countries join this circle of cooperation, we will all be more successful in strengthening the forces of moderation, and weakening the forces of extremism.
I am pleased to take this opportunity to thank Turkey for its support of the Special Session of the UN General Assembly on January 24, 2005 to mark the sixtieth anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death camps. This is an important message of solidarity between our peoples.
I am pleased to take this opportunity also publicly to congratulate the government and the people of Turkey, on the decision of the European Union to open negotiations with Turkey on its accession to the EU. Israel views this development most favorably. We are convinced that Turkey’s inclusion in the enlargement process will help reinforce regional and global stability.
Turkey is a unique democracy, and we support its efforts to realise its full potential on the international stage. It is in this context that we discussed the various threats currently facing our region, particularly the ongoing threat of extremist terror, which seeks to undermine our shared, democratic, way of life. Both Israel and Turkey have suffered the horrors of this terror. Last year I met with my colleague in Istanbul the day after the terrible bombings against the Jewish community there. Today, we discussed the need to intensify our cooperation in the fight against terror, as part of the global battle against this global enemy. We agree that there is no place for terrorist organizations in the peaceful and stable region we seek to build.
Our discussion today also covered the various tracks of the Middle East peace process. I conveyed to my colleague Israel’s commitment to peace with all our neighbors, and I detailed for him our efforts in this regard. Israel welcomes the interest and concern of the government and people of Turkey in these issues.
We recognize the importance for Turkey – and for the whole region – of the effort to bring the Arab-Israeli conflict to an end. This is why it is so important for the Palestinian leadership to act immediately to end the constant terror attacks against our civilians. Only when the terror ends, will it be possible to return to the negotiations we all seek. This is the sequence set out in the Roadmap, and this is the sequence we must follow.
I call on the Palestinian leadership to act immediately to end the rocket attacks on Israel’s civilians. And I call on the international community to bring its influence to bear, to ensure that this fundamental Palestinian commitment is upheld. Our desire to bring calm is being undermined every day, by continued Palestinian attacks against our communities – attacks which Israel is obligated to defend itself against.
Finally, let me say once again how pleased I am to welcome my friend and colleague to Israel, and to work together with him, to strengthen the friendship and partnership between our two countries, and our two peoples.