(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert this morning (Thursday), 22 May 2008, met with French Foreign Minister Dr. Bernard Kouchner. The two men discussed the peace process with the Palestinians and the opening of indirect negotiations between Israel and Syria.

Prime Minister Olmert told French Foreign Minister Kouchner that Israel intends to conduct negotiations on both tracks, with neither coming at the expense of the other. The Prime Minister made it clear that the State of Israel aspires to reach peace with the Palestinians in the coming year and added that both his talks with Palestinian Authority President Abu Mazen on this issue and the talks between the heads of the negotiating teams – Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Abu Ala – are serious and important.

Prime Minister Olmert updated French Foreign Minister Kouchner on the opening of the Turkish-mediated negotiations with Syria and said, "The Syrians know what we want and we know what they want."