"At the center of our national agenda is the need to take an important step forward in order to bring about negotiations between us and the Palestinian Authority."
Statements by Jacques Chirac, President of France and Ehud Olmert, Prime Minister of the State of Israel
Palais de l’Élysée
Paris, 14 June 2006
LE PRESIDENT – Mesdames, Messieurs, je souhaite la bienvenue à tous les journalistes israéliens, français ou étrangers. Je suis heureux de saluer amicalement le Premier ministre, M. OLMERT, à l’occasion de son premier voyage officiel en France. Nous allons avoir des entretiens, ce dont je me réjouis; ces entretiens seront essentiellement marqués par une volonté de concertation étroite, sur tous les sujets, qu’ils soient bilatéraux, internationaux ou régionaux.
Les dernières élections en Israël ont fait clairement apparaître la volonté des Israéliens, une volonté de paix et de sécurité. On le comprend, parce que, véritablement, ce conflit israélo-palestinien a duré depuis trop longtemps. Il est essentiel, aujourd’hui, d’instaurer la paix dans cette région, une paix qui suppose deux Etats vivant côte à côte et en sécurité.
Cet objectif -tout à fait souhaitable à tous égards, notamment à un moment où il y a des tendances à la reprise de la violence- suppose une reprise des négociations entre Israël et l’Autorité palestinienne. La France et l’Union européenne sont tout à fait déterminées à apporter leur contribution, dans toute la mesure du possible, à l’élaboration de cette paix, une paix durable et qui donne les moyens de vivre ensemble, tranquillement.
C’est dans cet esprit que je vais avoir le privilège de m’entretenir avec le Premier ministre, à qui je souhaite, à nouveau, la plus cordiale des bienvenues.
PM OLMERT: Mr. President, it is an honor to be your guest in France.
For me, as the prime minister of Israel, that represents the Jewish people, it is a special honor to be the guest of a man who is among the world’s great fighters against anti-Semitism.
You congratulated me immediately upon my election as prime minister and immediately invited me to be the official guest of your great country. The congratulations and the invitation were widely appreciated in the State of Israel.
Israeli-French relations are based on cooperation and friendship and former prime minister Ariel Sharon’s visit with you significantly contributed to the strengthening of these relations and to the warming of personal ties both between you and between France and Israel.
I would like to thank you for the warm and good ties that you created with former prime minister Sharon and for the great concern which you showed for his health in recent months. During his visit, a joint France-Israel fund was established to serve as the basis for wide-ranging cooperation in the various fields in which both countries have an interest, and I am certain that today’s visit and the continued contacts will further expand and strengthen bilateral cooperation.
At the center of our national agenda is the need to take an important step forward in order to bring about negotiations between us and the Palestinian Authority (PA). Mr. President, it was you who unequivocally and precisely defined the three conditions for the holding of such negotiations – a halt to terrorism, the fulfillment of all agreements that have been signed between Israel and the Palestinian Authority and the recognition of the State of Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state. You said that these conditions were not subject to compromise and there is currently no doubt that it is on the basis of these conditions that an effort must be made to reach the possibility of negotiations.
I can tell you now that we, the Israeli government, and I, as prime minister, will make every effort to quickly enable the holding of negotiations on the basis of these three conditions and on the Roadmap between us and the PA.
Cooperation with France and your sound advice as one of the most experienced statesmen in both the region and the world will be vital for the success of this process. Again, I thank you, Mr. President, for the invitation and I am certain that we will have a fruitful and important dialogue between us that will contribute to an improvement of the situation in the Middle East and that will continue the existence of our good and warm bilateral relations.