(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert met this morning (Tuesday), 21 February 2006, with Latvian President Dr. Vaira Vike-Freiberga, who has arrived for her first visit to Israel along with a delegation of senior Latvian ministers.

Acting Prime Minister Olmert emphasized the importance of the world maintaining a unified position against terrorism and on the three principles that Israel has presented regarding relations with Hamas: Recognition of the State of Israel, the cessation of terrorism and the abrogation of the Hamas Covenant, and recognition of previously signed agreements between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA).

Latvian President Vike-Freiberga said the European position has always supported the vision of two states and added that there is no doubt that the Hamas victory in the recent elections has moved the two sides backwards. She said that Europe must press Hamas to change and not be just another terrorist organization, and to accept the three principles. She noted that the entire European Union intends to press the PA on this issue.

The two leaders discussed advancing bilateral trade relations (Latvian President Vike-Freiberga was also accompanied by 75 businessmen) and the development of cooperation in the high-tech field. The Latvian President invited Acting Prime Minister Olmert to visit Latvia in order to advance this issue; it was agreed that a professional seminar on the issue would be held soon.

Acting Prime Minister Olmert thanked Latvian President Vike-Freiberga for the struggle against anti-Semitism in Latvia, for the Latvian government’s cooperation in the struggle, and for legislation that the Latvian government is advancing on the restoration of Jewish property.