FM Livni welcomed Secy of State Rice to Jerusalem on what she termed the "special week" of the "beginning of the cease-fire" with the Palestinian Authority in the Gaza Strip.

 FM Livni meets with US Secy of State Rice


(Photo: Olivier Fitoussi)

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni welcomed US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to her Jerusalem office today (Thursday, 30 Nov 2006), on what she termed the "special week" of the "beginning of the cease-fire" with the Palestinian Authority in the Gaza Strip.

She also thanked US President George W. Bush for his leadership in the war against terrorism and for declaring that "there is no just cause for terrorism," which must be stopped.

Livni recalled Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s remarks on Monday at the Sde Boker memorial to former prime minister David Ben-Gurion, during which he reached out to Palestinian moderates with suggestions of further steps to be taken toward peace. "There is a political horizon for moderates in the Palestinian Authority," she concluded.

Secretary Rice praised Israel’s restraint in the face of initial violations of the cease-fire by the Palestinians, noting that "the cease-fire needs to be consolidated."

Rice also commended Prime Minister Olmert’s Sde Boker speech, calling it "very positive." She asserted that PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas is committed to a two-state solution to the conflict in which both Israel and the Palestinian state would live "as democracies, side by side, in freedom."

Text of statements:

Minister of Foreign Affairs Tzipi Livni: I would like to welcome Secretary Rice to Jerusalem and to the region once again. Thank you so much.

This is a special week; I do hope so anyway. At the beginning, we said, at the beginning we hope a cease-fire. And then the important speech of Prime Minister Olmert, sending a message to the moderates in the Palestinian Authority, saying that there is a political horizon, but that there are some steps which are needed.

I would like also to thank the United States and Secretary Rice for their leadership, for the policy on the one hand that there is no just cause for terrorism, that it must be stopped. And, on the other hand, sending a message to the moderates, saying that there is this vision of two states and saying that there is a political horizon supporting and strengthening the moderates.

I do believe this represents the interests of the region – the interest of the moderates, the interest of Israel and the moderates in the Palestinian Authority, as well as the European Community.

Thank you.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice: Thank you very much, Minister Livni, for having me here. Indeed, it has been a week of progress – a week that we hope can be consolidated – the cease-fire now needs to be consolidated by actions and to make certain that it is enforced.

I also appreciate the statement of restraint that the Israeli government has issued concerning the cease-fire, because it is of course quite fragile, but we would like to see it consolidated and then extended.

It was also a very positive speech by Prime Minister Olmert and I think a hand reaching out to a Palestinian partner. I was just with President Abbas and he is indeed a man who has committed to a peaceful resolution of the Palestinian Israeli conflict and the establishment of two states – democratic and independent and living side by side in freedom.

We will have discussions, and they will be about how we might continue to move forward on the vision of those two states living side by side. And I appreciate it very much your having me here.

Thank you so much.