(Communicated by the Vice Premier’s media adviser)

Vice Premier Shimon Peres met today with Quartet special envoy on disengagement James Wolfensohn along with the heads and members of the interministerial teams for economic and civilian coordination of the disengagement. 

Vice Premier Shimon Peres stated at the beginning of the meeting that coordination of the disengagement between the Israelis and the Palestinians is important to facilitate the disengagement’s success, as well as to leverage the economic potential embedded in the process. Peres stated that it is important to focus on projects that provide concrete, tangible economic benefits in Gaza in the short term, such as the issue of the passages. He also noted that "preserving the residential structures in Gaza is in our mutual interest." 

Peres added that "we need privatize the peace," and in this context noted that the involvement of the international business community has a beneficial role to play.

The teams presented to Wolfensohn some of the ideas of the five interministerial teams which relate to trade relations, economic development, transfer of assets, passages and access, and the Gaza seaport. The need to build and cultivate the trust among the parties was also discussed.

Wolfensohn noted that special professional teams of the World Bank related to the transfer of assets and the passages would be prepared already next week to help facilitate the coordination between Israel and the Palestinians on these issues.