(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert spoke this evening (Sunday), 29 October 2006, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and expressed his regret over the recent incident between the IDF and the German UNIFIL force. He emphasized Israel ascribes great importance to the arrival of the German force, which constitutes a central step in implementing UN Security Council Resolution #1701, and said that Israel would do its utmost to assist, and cooperate with, this force in order to see to it that such events do not recur.  The Prime Minister thanked his German counterpart for Germany’s contribution to the multi-national force; the two leaders agreed to increase cooperation and coordination.

Prime Minister Olmert updated German Chancellor Merkel on political developments in Israel and on developments on the Palestinian track. He thanked her for her invitation to visit Germany and said that he would do so in the coming weeks.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert met this afternoon (Sunday), 29 October 2006, with a senior parliamentary delegation from German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Party. The friendly meeting lasted 40 minutes; both sides emphasized the special nature of bilateral relations.

The talks focused on the recent activity of German naval forces. Prime Minister Olmert explained the nature of the event and apologized for the misunderstandings that occurred last week. He stressed the importance of German participation in the multi-national force in Lebanon and noted that there was a direct link between the German force and Israeli forces in order to see to it that such events do not recur. The Prime Minister emphasized the importance of bilateral relations and recalled his personal request that Germany participate in the multi-national force; he added that Israel ascribes special importance to this participation.

The head of the German delegation stressed Germany’s commitment to the existence of Israel, the extensive bilateral cooperation and the role of the German Jewish community.