(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert spoke this evening (Saturday), 28 January 2006, with French President Jacques Chirac and told him that Israel was very concerned about the results of the recent Palestinian Authority (PA) elections and Hamas’s victory. He said that this has given rise to considerable difficulties because Israel can neither countenance nor accept a PA, part of which is an armed organization that calls for Israel’s destruction.

Acting Prime Minister Olmert ascribed great importance to the formation of a united internal position which would make it clear to the Palestinians that there can be no contacts with Hamas or with a PA that calls for the destruction of the State of Israel.

French President Chirac told Acting Prime Minister Olmert that France’s position was clear and that there could be no political or diplomatic dialogue with an organization or government that does not fulfill the following conditions:

1) An explicit and public renunciation of violence;
2) Recognition of the existence of the State of Israel and its right to live in peace and security; and
3) Recognition of all previous agreements that have been signed between Israel and the PA.

French President Chirac said that this position was clear and added that it was also the position of most countries in the world.

French President Chirac inquired about the condition of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and asked Acting Prime Minister Olmert to convey his best wishes for a recovery and friendship to the Sharon family. He added that he positively remembered Prime Minister Sharon’s recent visit to France and their warm personal relationship.

The two men agreed to be in close contact in order to monitor developments.