(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert spoke this morning (Wednesday, 15 March 2006) with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who telephoned from South Africa in order to be updated on the situation between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Olmert told Annan that after the British and Americans decided to leave the Jericho prison due to repeated violations by the Palestinians, Israel was compelled to enter the prison and arrest the murderers of minister Rehavam Ze’evi.

Annan said that now that the action is over, he is more relaxed, because he had feared a regional escalation. He noted that he is bound by the three conditions that Israel and the international community had set before Hamas and added that there would be no compromise on these threshold conditions. He said that he is working with the Lebanese government in order to calm the situation in the North and so that the Lebanese government presses Hamas.

The two men also discussed the Iranian issue and agreed that the UN Security Council statement would be aggressive and unequivocal in order for there to be a chance of exhausting the diplomatic track with Iran.