(Communicated by the Vice Premier’s Media Adviser)

Vice Premier Shimon Peres met today (Monday, June 20) with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Sharm El Sheikh. 
 
During their talks today, progress was achieved in the context of reaching an agreement regarding an Egyptian presence at the Philadelphi corridor. In coordination with the Israeli Minister of Defense Shaul Mofaz, Vice Premier Shimon Peres presented to President Mubarak the ideas raised in plans relayed to the Egyptian Ministry of Defense regarding this issue a few days ago.

After the meeting, during a joint press conference with Vice Premier Shimon Peres, President Mubarak stated, regarding the Philadelphi corridor, that "it will not be possible to stop completely the smuggling. Only if we place soldiers in a line shoulder to shoulder there, would this be possible." President Mubarak also noted that Israel has experienced some difficulty in this task as well. President Mubarak added that Egypt would do its best to prevent smuggling.

Vice Premier Shimon Peres thanked President Mubarak for his contribution to the peace process: "You have proven your wisdom and patience, and all of the people of Israel appreciate you." During the meeting, Vice Prime Minister Peres also laid out for President Mubarak ideas to facilitate economic development in Gaza, and detailed plans in the area of industry and employment.

Vice Premier Peres also stated, "What is needed to continue the political process after the disengagement is a better security situation than that which exists today." Peres elaborated and stated that the Palestinian Authority has a choice: "It can have many parties and one rifle, or many rifles and no political party."

Peres also updated the Egyptian President regarding the issue of the settler’s residential homes in Gaza. He stated, "The homes could be destroyed in order that we may build anew." Peres concluded the meeting by stating that Israel will do all it can to facilitate the continuation of the peace process.